The Congress will close 2022 with a handful of problems in Gujarat, where it managed to win only 16 seats in the assembly, as the party is likely to lose the post of the Leader of Opposition.
Gujarat’s assembly has 182 seats and a party needs at least 10 per cent strength to send a Leader of Opposition, or LoP. The Congress with its worst ever performance in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state doesn’t have the numbers needed to appoint a LoP.
In the centre too, the Congress couldn’t send a LoP after two national elections, one in 2014 and the other in 2019, as it won only 44 and 52 seats, respectively. It tried to make Mallikarjun Kharge the LoP, but the then Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan blocked the attempt, citing rules. A party needs 55 seats to send a LoP in parliament.
Mr Kharge is the first Congress chief who is not from the Gandhi family in two decades.
In the first term of the Modi government that began in 2014, Mr Kharge was invited to meetings of a panel to appoint the anti-corruption body Lokpal. But he turned down the invitation in protest against not getting the LoP’s post.
The Congress had also done the same with the opposition back in 1980 and 1984, when the LoP post was not given to any party after the Congress won with massive numbers in the national elections.
The BJP is set to create a record in Gujarat with another assembly election win this time. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel won the Ghatlodia seat.