The government has ignored Congress party’s demand for an additional front row seat in Lok Sabha for its former president and Gandhi dynasty scion Rahul Gandhi. The government has said that Gandhi is not entitled to a front-row seat and he is not even the party president right now to be to benefit from such a privilege.
#NewsAlert – Government rejects @INCIndia demand for a front row seat for @RahulGandhi in Lok Sabha. As per rules, Congress is entitled to only 2 seats in the front row. | @payalmehta100 with more details
— News18 (@CNNnews18) July 9, 2019
According to the rules, Congress is entitled to only two front row seats, which will be occupied by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in his capacity as the Leader of Opposition and Sonia Gandhi as she is the UPA chairperson.
It is a significant development given the fact that seat allotment is currently being finalized in the lower house of the parliament. Apart from Sonia and Adhir, one TMC MP and one YSRCP MP, along with two senior members Farooq Abdullah and Mulayam Singh Yadav are expected to be seated in the first row.
In such a scenario, Gandhi is most likely to be seated in the second or third row of the Lok Sabha. Denying the demand raised by Congress, it has been asserted Gandhi is no longer the party president and is therefore not eligible for such entitlements.
The government further added that it is simply following the rule book of the Lok Sabha, which clearly offers only 2 seats to the Congress party.
This is how the seating arrangement in parliament is decided. As per rule 4 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the members shall sit in such order as determined by the speaker of the house. And the speaker is guided by the direction number 122(1)(a) of the ‘Directions by the Speaker’.
Although the rules say that the speaker has full discretion to allot seats, a formula is used to determine the number of seats allotted to parties having five or more members in each row.
As the Congress party has 52 MPs in Lok Sabha, and there are 20 seats on the front row, 2 seats are available for the Congress party on the front according to this formula.
For parties having less than 5 members, the speaker allocates seats as per discretion. Very senior leaders are generally allowed to take first row seats, irrespective of their party positions.