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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 July 2024

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi named Leader of Opposition in 18th Lok Sabha

The decision was made after a meeting of the floor leaders of the INDIA bloc at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's residence

PTI New Delhi Published 25.06.24, 09:53 PM
Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi. File picture.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will occupy the post of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a letter about the decision has been sent to Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab by the Congress party.

The decision on Rahul Gandhi's appointment as the Leader of Opposition was announced soon after a meeting of the floor leaders of the INDIA bloc at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's residence.

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AICC general secretary, Organisation, K C Venugopal told the media that CPP chairperson Sonia Gandhi has written to the Pro-tem Speaker about the decision of the Congress party.

"Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson (Sonia Gandhi) wrote to Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab, informing him of the decision to appoint Rahul Gandhi as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha," Venugopal told reporters after the meeting.

He said the decision on other appointments will be decided later.

The floor leaders of opposition INDIA bloc had got together at the Congress chief's residence to discuss the Speaker's election and sources said they were informed about the "good news".

With this decision, Rahul Gandhi finally bites the bullet in taking up this role, as he would now get the status of a cabinet minister's rank. This will also enhance his position in the protocol list and could be a natural claimant to the post of prime minister of the opposition bloc.

Gandhi as the LoP of Lok Sabha would also be a member of important panels on key appointments of Lokpal, CBI chief, Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, besides the selection of Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Information Commission and the NHRC chief. The prime minister heads all such panels.

Kharge hailed the decision, saying in the 18th Lok Sabha, the House of the People shall truly reflect the aspirations of the last person standing, with Rahul Gandhi becoming their voice.

"As Congress President, I am confident that a leader who has traversed the length and breadth of the country from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, and from Manipur to Maharashtra shall raise the voice of the people — especially the marginalised and the poor," he said in a post on X.

"The Congress party is strongly committed to protect Democracy and the Constitution, by upholding its eternal principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity," Kharge also said.

Several leaders lauded and thanked Rahul Gandhi for accepting the position and hoped he would remain the voice of people in Parliament by raising their issues.

"We are confident that as LOP, Rahul ji will be a bold voice for the common people of India and ensure that the NDA government is held firmly accountable at all times," Venugopal later said in a post on X.

Earlier, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the grand old party, had passed a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to take up the position of Leader of Opposition, saying he is the "right person" to hold the post.

Rahul Gandhi, who turned 54 last week, is the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He has been an MP for five terms and currently represents the Rae Bareli constituency in the Lok Sabha, previously held by his mother Sonia Gandhi. He took oath as an MP on Tuesday while holding a copy of the Constitution.

Though he won from two constituencies - Wayanad in Kerala and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, he resigned from the Wayanad constituency, from where his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would now contest.

Rahul Gandhi entered politics in 2004 when he won for the first time from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress, being the single largest opposition party, gets the post of opposition leader after a gap of 10 years.

It had failed to get the 10 per cent members required in the Lok Sabha to secure the post in the 2014 and 2019 elections.

The Congress had contested this Lok Sabha election with Rahul Gandhi and Kharge as its key campaigners and the party emerged a strong force this this winning 99 seats.

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