Restore Leader of Opp status, Cong urges Assam Governor



Opposition Congress in Assam has called upon Governor Jagdish Mukhi seeking restoration of the Leader of the Opposition status accorded to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and Nazira legislator Debabrata Saikia.

The Assam Assembly Speaker had recently withdrawn the recognition of Saikia as Leader of the Opposition after two Congress MLAs quit to join the ruling BJP, reducing the grand old party’s number of lawmakers to 20, one less than the 21 needed to have one-sixth of the total members of the Assembly.

An official notification issued last Monday stated that the Opposition Congress does not have the requisite one-sixth House strength in the 126-member Assembly to hold the post of Leader of the Opposition.

“It is unfortunate and shocking that at the fag end of the 14th Assam Legislative Assembly, you consider it appropriate to withdraw the Leader of the Opposition status from the Indian National Congress, which is without any ambiguity the single-largest Opposition party in the current Assembly. Due to the sudden demise of a few honourable members and (the) resignation of a few others, the number of INC members has decreased but we are still the single-largest Opposition party in the House,” a letter to the Governor by Congress on Thursday read.


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“As per the Rule 2 (1) (p) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Assam Legislative Assembly, it is stipulated that 'Leader of the Opposition' means the leader of the largest recognised party in the Opposition and recognised as such by the Speaker. Hence, there is no scope of any one-sixth rule of a quorum being applicable to decide the position of 'Leader of the Opposition' when the Act, as well as the Rule, have amply clarified the definition,” the letter read.

“Even if, one takes into account the one-sixth rule of the quorum for argument’s sake, then it ought to be taken into account that the current strength of the House is not 126 but 119. As many as three MLAs have passed away, and it is not the Opposition’s fault that the government has been unable to hold the by-elections to even one of the vacant seats,” it read.

“We trust that you will take an immediate initiative to have the notification revoked and forthwith restore Debabrata Saikia as the Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly,” the letter further read.

(Edited by Ladiangti Rani)