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Opposition parties fail to choose ‘Leader of Opposition’, leave it up to Speaker

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Shillong, March 20: All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and former chief minister Mukul Sangma on Monday said the issue as to who will represent the opposition bench in the Assembly is left to the wisdom of the Speaker.

“We have left it to the wisdom of the Speaker,” Sangma, who is also a former leader of opposition, told reporters.

Three opposition parties including Congress and the Voice of the People Party are in a fix now as to who should become the leader of opposition in the 11th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly considering the fact that as per rule, a party which is represented by the Leader of Opposition should have at least 10 members in the Assembly (one-sixth of the total strength of 60 members in the House) for recognition.

But the opposition parties – Congress, and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have five MLAs each, while the VPP has four MLAs, which is much below the strength of 10 members.

When asked, the former chief minister however said, “You go by history. In 2013-2018, when we were in the ruling, what did we do? We allow having a leader of opposition in spite of the number not being able to fulfil that criteria as per rules and conduct of business in this August House. And earlier, the same thing happened in 2008-2013.”

Stating that there are records available for reference, he said, “Therefore, we are leaving it to the wisdom of the Speaker,” while adding “Because this issues are based on how do we ensure that there is no vacuum because if you are looking at various other aspects of responsibilities which revolves around various laws and implementation of laws by the government, you will see the requirement of the role of opposition.”

Sangma further informed that the three opposition parties are yet to sit properly to discuss the issue.

“We are yet to sit on this particular issue and therefore, there is a kind of lack of synergy in as far as this decision is concerned. We hope to have a sitting and have a certain kind of decision which will be arrived at with the wisdom of all concerns,” he said.

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