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Assam: Debabrata Saikia loses 'Leader of Opposition' status after switching of Congress MLAs to BJP

Assam: Debabrata Saikia loses 'Leader of Opposition' status after switching of Congress MLAs to BJP

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DISPUR: In another setback to the Congress ahead of the ensuing polls in Assam, Debabrata Saikia, leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), has lost the post of the Leader of the Opposition of the Assam Legislative Assembly.

According to officials, the Speaker has withdrawn the recognition as the Congress party’s strength has dipped below the requisite number. The defection of two MLAs -- Ajanta Neog (Golaghat) and Rajdeep Gowalla demise of former Assembly Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. BJP has a total of 60 MLAs after the death one legislator. It enjoys the support of AGP, having 13 members in the House.

Neog, Gowalla and former Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) lawmaker Banendra Mushahary recently switched over to the BJP in the presence of North East Democratic Alliance convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma and the saffron party's state unit president Ranjeet Dass, further bolstering the party ahead of the polls.

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“The present strength of the Indian National Congress Legislature Party, Assam Legislative Assembly, is not equal to the quorum fixed to constitute a sitting of the House, that is one-sixth of the total number of Members of the House as required... therefore, the Hon’ble Speaker, Assam Legislative Assembly, has been pleased to withdraw the recognition of Debabrata Saikia, MLA, as Leader of the Opposition, with effect from January 1, 2021,” said an official notification, notifying that Saikia will no longer be the Leader of the Opposition.

It needs mention here that the Congress needs at least 21 members in the House of 126 to maintain the 'Leader of Opposition' status.

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