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Analysis Of Sansad TV Discussion: ”Indian Parliament and Opposition”

Analysis Of Sansad TV Discussion: ”Indian Parliament and Opposition”


”GS 2: Parliament, Indian Constitution”


  • Results of the recently concluded assembly elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa is all set to bring a significant change at the national level as well – more specifically in the opposition camp.
  • Congress party’s dismal performance in these elections will also further bring down its strength in the Upper House of Parliament.
  • Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party which won a huge mandate in Punjab will eventually increase its representation in the Upper House significantly. AITMC is also making moves to capture the space ceded by Congress in the opposition camp.

Key Points

  • The poor performance of the Congress in assembly polls across five states will impact its Rajya Sabha numbers and the party is now staring at the possibility of losing the Leader of the Opposition status in the upper house of Parliament.
  • After biennial polls to Upper House are held this year, Congress numbers will be at a historic low and likely to be close to the minimum strength required to maintain the Leader of the Opposition status.
  • The Aam Aadmi Party, with its three-fourth majority in the new Punjab assembly, will substantially boost its numbers and will be in a position to win at least six out of the seven seats in the state for which elections will be held this year to fill vacancies in the Upper House.
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party is poised to increase its numbers in the upper House to cross 100 due to its strong performance in the assembly polls and the National Democratic Alliance is set to get the majority mark.

Norms for getting the status of Leader of Opposition?

  • According to the norms, a party should have at least 10 per cent strength of the total membership of the House to get the status of Leader of Opposition for its leader.
  • The Congress at present has 34 members in the upper House and is on course to lose at least seven seats this year to hit a record low.
  • So, a party should have at least 25 members for its leader in the House to retain the status of Leader of Opposition.
  • Mallikarjun Kharge is the leader of Congress and the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House.
  • The Congress does not have the leader of the Opposition status in Lok Sabha as its present strength in the House is less than 10 per cent of the membership of the House.

How Opposition Formed in Indian Parliament?

  • The Opposition in Parliament is formed by all the political parties that oppose the majority party/coalition formed. The largest amongst these parties is called the Opposition party.
  • The Opposition parties play a critical role in the healthy functioning of a democracy. They highlight drawbacks in various policies and programmes of the government and mobilise popular support for their own policies.

Leaders Of Opposition

  • In India, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are accorded statutory recognition.
  • There may be several parties in opposition, but the Opposition means the second main party temporarily in a minority, with leaders experienced in office, who are ready when the time arises, to form an alternative government.
  • This affords a guarantee that its criticism will be directed by a consistent policy and conducted with responsibility-not in spirit calculated to ruin the game for the sake of the prize.
  • Where there are two or more parties in opposition to the Government, in the Council of States or in the House of the People, having the same numerical strength, the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People, as the case may be, shall be having regard to the status of the parties, recognise any one of the Leaders of such parties as the Leader of the Opposition for the purposes of this section and such recognition shall be final and conclusive.

What did the PAGE Committee Recommend?

  • The PAGE Committee recommended that the Leader of the largest recognised Opposition Party (whether a regular party or a party composed of different parties or groups) should be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition.
  • According to the Committee, it would be a healthy parliamentary convention if the Leader of the Opposition is invited by the Prime Minister before the latter makes any policy statement in the House and is given a copy of the statement in advance, and his suggestions for fixing any particular business on a particular day are, as far as possible, accepted by the Speaker and the Leader of the House.
  • The Committee suggested that the Leader of the Opposition should be paid a salary, and provided with the office as well as residential accommodation and some secretarial staff.

Role of the Opposition

  • The task of the Leader of the Opposition is not so difficult as that of the Leader of the House, but it is nevertheless of considerable importance.
  • Opposition is an essential part of democratic government.
  • What is expected from the opposition is effective criticism.
  • It is therefore not untrue to say that the most important part of Parliament is the Opposition.
  • Government governs and the opposition criticises. Both of them thus have functions and rights

Key Functions of the opposition

  • Attacks upon the Government and upon individual Ministers are the function of the Opposition.
  • The duty of the Opposition is to oppose. That duty is the major check upon corruption and defective administration.
  • It is also the means by which individual injustices are prevented. This duty is hardly less important than that of government.
  • It is the recognition by both sides of the House that the Government governs openly and honestly and that it is prepared to meet criticism not by secret police and concentration camps but by rational argument.
  • The Opposition has no right to obstruct, in the sense of making Parliament barren or unproductive.


It would be the clearest proof of the triumph of party spirit over parliamentary spirit if any government set out to whittle away the rights of the opposition. The uninterrupted respect for the rights of the opposition which the government shows should be accepted as prima-facie evidence of the soundness of its parliamentary faith.‬

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