What is an opposition party? What is the Eligibility Criteria to be an Opposition Party in the Indian Parliament?

What is an opposition party? What is the Eligibility Criteria to be an Opposition Party in the Indian Parliament?
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the Indian Youth Congress' Yuva Kranti Yatra rally at Talkatora Stadium in New Jan 30, 2019.Photo/Atul Yadav) (
An Opposition Party refers to a position in the Indian parliament (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). The political party that secures the second largest number of seats in the general elections in the upper or lower houses will be designated as the position party.

Eligibility criteria to become the opposition party

In order to get the designation as the Opposition party, the party must have secured at least 10% of the total number of seats in the parliament. It is important to note that the single party and not an alliance must meet the 10% seat criteria in this regard. A number of state legislatures in India also go by the 10% rule while the remaining will prefer the single largest party to play the opposition role as per the rules of their respective houses.

The role of the opposition party

The main role of the opposition party is to question the government on all matters and bills so that the government remains accountable to the public. The opposition party is also responsible to safeguard the interests of the general public. Mainly, the opposition party must ensure that the government does not resort to any drastic step that would have harmful effects on the people of the nation. As per the constitution, the opposition party is entrusted with the responsibility of checking the excesses of the ruling party. At the same time, it must not take an altogether antagonistic stand. If the actions and moves by the ruling party appear to be beneficial to the public, the opposition party must support such moves. The opposition party must also alert the population as well as the government on the content of a given bill that will go against the country’s interests.

Why is an opposition party important?


Stressing on the importance of the opposition party’s role in the democratic governance of the country, National Party leader Dr Don Brash says that the opposition represents an alternative government. It is also responsible for challenging the policies of the government. It must work to produce different policies wherever they are appropriate.

The opposition party in India provides a practical criticism of the ruling party’s moves and decisions. During important appointments, the opposition parties are consulted by the ruling party. It is very important that the opposition has a suitable leader who can ably represent the interests of the non-dominant parties in the Lok Sabha.

The principal role of the opposition party in India’s Lok Sabha

In the democratic governance of India, the principal role of the opposition is to identify the weaknesses of the government and also give their inputs in legislation. The opposition is expected to give a tough time to the government and the ruling party so that the country’s governance happens in the best way. Hence it is important that the opposition is given due importance and a role in the country’s governance so that the health of the democracy is safeguarded.