Bhubaneswar: The Congress in Odisha Assembly may face the same fate of Congress Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha. The party is likely to lose the leader of the opposition (LoP) post as its number is going to come down to 14 in the 147-member Odisha Assembly with the disqualification of party’s Sundergarh MLA Jogesh Singh.
The Orissa High Court had disqualified Singh on Tuesday for submitting fake caste certificate while filing nomination for the 2014 Assembly elections.
The Congress in Lok Sabha, despite being the largest party, has been denied the LoP post as it has not able to get the required number in the 2014 General Electioin. The party has 44 MPs in the 545-member Lok Sabha.
“Technically, the party has lost the status after the court verdict”, said the Congress LoP Narasingha Mishra. He, however, added that the Congress would have the LoP post if Jogesh could manage to obtain a stay from the Supreme Court against the Odisha High Court’s order of disqualification.
Even though Congress has won 16 seats in the state assembly elections in 2014, it’s number had reduced to 15 after the death of Bijepur MLA Subal Sahoo. Now with Jogesh’s disqualification, the number has come down to 14.
A political party needs to have at least 10% of the total seats in the assembly to entitle for the LoP post. The Congress need 15 MLAs in the 147 Odisha Assembly to retain the LoP post.
Mishra, however, said that the state government has to take the final decision whether they want a LoP post or not.
The High Court had declared disqualified Singh’s election as “null and void” after hearing petitions filed by BJP candidate Sahadev Xaxa and another voter Ajay Patel who alleged that Singh submitted false and fabricated caste certificate categorising himself as Bhuyan tribe member.