17 November 2019
New Delhi: The Opposition has increased its strength in Parliament as the 17th Lok Sabha readies to convene for the winter session, with the Shiv Sena walking out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The joint Opposition strength has crossed the 200-mark in Lok Sabha where there is no Leader of Opposition owing to the lack of the numbers required for this purpose in the Lower House.
The Shiv Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 3 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. The party has moved to the Opposition benches with a new political equation evolving in the state of Maharashtra where the Sena is in talks with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine to form a government in the state which has been placed under President's rule.
The Congress has 52 MPs in the LOk Sabha, the DMK 24, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) 22, and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) 22, while the Shiv Sena has become the fifth largest constituent of the Opposition, as per details in the Lok Sabha website.
However, according to a leader, though three important parties -- YSRCP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) -- are technically in opposition, their stand can change according to what suits them politically.
In the Rajya Sabha, where the Opposition has been fast loosing its grip, the joining of the Shiv Sena with its three members has come as a major boost.
The Opposition on Sunday raked up the issue of the detention of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is a member of the Lok Sabha, during the all-party meet convened by the government, a day ahead of the Parliament session.
Farooq Abdullah is under detention along with two other former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti since the abrogation of Article 370 and the re-organisation of the state.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said after the meet: "Farooq Abdullah should be allowed to attend the Parliament session as he is under detention for the past 3 months and, as per past precedents, jailed former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram should also be allowed to attend the proceedings".
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, asserted that the Opposition will be raising the issue of economic crisis during the winter session.
Regarding the NDA's former ally Shiv Sena, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said: "Shiv Sena is working on a tie-up with the Congress as they have opted to sit in the Opposition. We have agreed to it and their Minister has also resigned from the government".
Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the all-party meet ahead of the crucial winter session of Parliament beginning from Monday.