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Rahul Gandhi to be Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha

This will be the first time that Rahul has not shied away from taking up an administrative position, as he had refused to accede to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request to join his government when the UPA was in power.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 16:05 IST

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New Delhi: Ending the suspense, Congress on Tuesday night announced that Rae Bareli MP Rahul Gandhi will be the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, signalling the party’s intent not to take off its foot from accelerator after a combative performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

This will be the first time that Rahul has not shied away from taking up a Constitutional position, as he had refused to accede to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request to join his government when the UPA was in power.

Along with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, who is Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, the Rae Bareli MP will officially lead the party in Parliament. The announcement came on a day Rahul took oath as an MP holding a copy of Constitution in hand.

The Congress Working Committee had on June 8 passed a resolution urging Rahul to take up the assignment as he was the “best person” to lead them in Lok Sabha as they have to take forward the issues they raised during the campaign. He had then said he would soon announce his decision.

Congress General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal told reporters that Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has written to Protem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab about choosing Rahul as the Leader of the Opposition.

As the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Rahul will have more one-on-one official encounters with his prime political opponent Prime Minister Narendra Modi in high-level meetings to decide top Constitutional functionaries like Election Commissioners and officials like CBI Director.

It would also mean that Rahul will have to spend more time in Lok Sabha when Parliament is in session besides carrying out his official duties when it is not in session.

Rahul’s ascendance into a position of power came after he shepherded the Congress along with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to win 99 seats in the recent Lok Sabha election. In the past two Lok Sabha elections, Rahul’s campaign had not helped Congress win big.

The latest decision also comes close on the heels of Rahul winning Rae Bareli seat, five years after losing Amethi, and vacating the Wayanad seat from where his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be fighting the bypolls.

With Sonia slowly withdrawing from the hurly burly of active politics owing to health reasons, the move also indicates Rahul’s slow transition into the role his mother has been playing since 1998 and becoming her political heir.

Senior party leaders were of the view that Rahul’s presence in an official position inside the House was essential as Sonia would be “missing from Lok Sabha” as she became a Rajya Sabha member.

With Sonia not in Lok Sabha, leaders said absence of a proper chain of command with official stamp could lead to confusion, when the I.N.D.I.A bloc has leaders like Akhilesh Yadav in the House.

However, the new assignment would mean that his days would be packed as he would also be looking at rejuvenating the party organisation in states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Sources said Rahul had earlier raised concerns over him not getting enough time for organisational work.

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Published 25 June 2024, 16:05 IST

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