Agartala, Sep 12 (IANS) The Speaker of the Tripura Assembly on Monday rejected the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) latest demand for the status of main opposition party in the assembly.
“I studied the TMC (Tripura unit) chairman Ratan Chakraborty’s two fresh letters demanding recognition of the party as main opposition party in the state assembly. According to the Supreme Court verdict, Lok Sabha’s act and Tripura Assembly’s rules, the TMC cannot get the opposition party status in the house,” assembly Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath told reporters.
He said: “The TMC in their letters referred to the Tripura acts of 1972 and 2008. Both the acts are relating to salaries and allowances of members of the assembly.”
According to the same procedures, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan had rejected the Congress’ demand for recognition of the party as main opposition party and offering the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha to Mallikarjun Kharge.”
Kharge is the Congress’ floor leader in the Lok Sabha.
TMC leader Chakraborty in his letters to the speaker requested him to recognise the TMC as main opposition party and to grant status of Leader of Opposition (LoP) to the party’s newly-elected legislature party leader Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl as the party has the “required strength in the assembly”.
After three-month-long parleys six legislators were recognised as TMC MLAs by the assembly speaker on August 29. The Speaker while recognising the TMC legislators, citing rules and Supreme Court verdict, had refused to give opposition party status to the TMC in the assembly.
Quoting the provision of the Tripura assembly rules of procedure and conduct of business, TMC leader Sudip Roy Barman said that the 1972 and 2008 acts categorically stated that an MLA could only have the eligibility to become LoP if his party has the largest numerical strength in the assembly.
The TMC leader had earlier threatened to take the speaker to court if he refused to recognise Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl as the Leader of the Opposition.
“As the speaker announced his final decision today (Monday), the party would take suitable steps in appropriate time,” said Hrangkhawl, a veteran tribal leader and former Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee chief.
A TMC leader on condition of anonymity hinted that the party is likely to seek the Governor or the court’s intervention as the speaker neither granted LoP status nor recognised it as the main opposition party in the house.
The six MLAs, led by former opposition leader Sudip Roy Barman, quit the Congress on April 7 and joined the TMC on June 7 in protest against the Congress’ alliance with Left parties ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections in April-May.
Constitutional experts here said that G.V. Mavalankar, the first Lok Sabha Speaker, had said that the main opposition party’s strength must equal the quorum — which is 10 per cent of the total strength — required for functioning of the House.
This point was later incorporated in Direction 121 (1) of the Directions by the Speaker, Lok Sabha, and The Leaders and Chief Whips of Recognised Parties and Groups in Parliament (facilities) Act of 1998, the experts said.
Like the current Lok Sabha, in 1980 and 1984, when Congress was in power, there was no recognised Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
The Election Commission recently granted national party status to TMC as the party headed by Mamata Banerjee has fulfilled the conditions required to become a national party after getting the status of state party in four states — West Bengal, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.