Elections

Sonia Gandhi Re-elected As Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson; Rahul To 'Decide' On LoP Role | Key Points

The Congress Working Committee on Saturday unanimously urged Rahul Gandhi to take on the role of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

PTI
Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Mallikarjun Kharge at others at the CWC meet. Photo: PTI
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Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi was unanimously re-elected as the chairperson of the Congress parliamentary party on Saturday.

At the grand old party's parliamentary committee meeting at the Parliament's Central Hall, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge proposed Sonia's name for the position of chairperson of the parliamentary party.

The proposal was further backed by party leaders Gaurav Gogoi, K Sudhakaran and Tariq Anwar.

Present at the meeting were, chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, party MPs Karti Chidambaram, Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken and Shashi Tharoor among others.

The 77-year-old former president of the grand old party, Sonia was elected to the Rajya Sabha in February.

WHAT CONGRESS LEADERS SAID

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that it is a good thing that Sonia has been re-elected as the CPP as she "will keep guiding" the grand old party. He added, "Due to Sonia ji's charismatic leadership, hard work and experience, we got the benefit of good coordination with the allies. A cordial atmosphere was created among the MPs of different parties to run the Parliament smoothly."

Kharge also slammed PM Modi and said that earlier on Friday, when Modi lifted the Constitution to his forehead, he forgot how he has violated constitutional traditions in the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, party leader Manickam Tagore said that now the elected CPP chairperson will be deciding the leader of the Lok Sabha.

Congress leader Karti Chidambaram said that after he re-election as the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Sonia addressed the members and also congratulated all the new additions to the party.

"It was a very emotional moment for all of us," said Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi on the other hand.

"I remember when 2.5 years ago when the party was not in a good position, she had said ‘we shall overcome’ and today you can see its results in our CPP numbers," Gogoi added.

Now a 4-time Thiruvananthapuram MP, Shashi Tharoor said that there was no doubt about having Sonia back as the chairperson of the CPP. "She has been leading and guiding the party for a very long time and there was no question of any other name being considered. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge himself nominated her," he added.

Congress leader KC Venugopal meanwhile spoke about how the nation "knows about the leadership of Sonia Gandhi".

"Now there will be a very strong opposition in the country. Certainly, the leadership of Sonia Gandhi will give extra energy to all of us," Venugopal said.

Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said that the grand old party will benefit from the experience of Sonia Gandhi. "Together we will raise the voice of the public," he added.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla noted that Saturday's meeting was in connection with the CPP, adding that "Rahul Gandhi will decide on the Leader of the Opposition".

WHAT SONIA GANDHI SAID

After being re-elected as the chairperson of the Congress parliamentary party, Sonia Gandhi addressed the newly elected MPs and said that the grand old party has once again displayed its resilience.

"It was up against a mighty and malevolent machine," she added.

She hailed the "determined leadership" of Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge and said that even though many "obituaries" were written for the party, but it persevered under the latter.

Sonia recounted what the Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra did for the party, terming them to be "historic movements". With this, she appreciated her son and party leader Rahul Gandhi for his "tenacity, determination to fight unprecedented personal and political attacks".

She said that the grand old party has not increased its seat tally in the Parliament, but is also strengthened by its INDIA bloc allies.

"We must also reflect on how to improve our position in states where our performance has been far below our expectations," Sonia added.

Taking a dig at PM-designate Narendra Modi, the CPP chairperson said the man who sought mandate solely in his name, "suffered a political and moral defeat".

This has ultimately led to Modi losing "the right to leadership as well", Sonia said.

She further sharpened her attack at the PM-designate and said, "Far from taking responsibility for failure, he intends to get himself sworn in again tomorrow."

"We do not expect him to change the substance and style of his governance, nor take cognisance of the will of the people," Sonia added.

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She asserted that the election results have come as a "renewed opportunity" for the party to "establish parliamentary democracy in our country and bring parliamentary politics back on track".

CWC URGES RAHUL TO TAKE ON LoP ROLE

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said that the Congress Working Committee on Saturday unanimously urged Rahul Gandhi to take on the role of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, as it also credited his two Bharat Jodo Yatras for the party's performance in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

"Rahul Gandhi said he would take a decision on it very soon," Venugopal said.

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After being ousted from power in 2014, this will be the first time that the grand old party will get the post of the Leader of Opposition in the Lower House of the Parliament.

The CWC adopted two resolutions, one hailing the role of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the party's performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

CONGRESS' PERFORMANCE IN 2024 GENERAL ELECTIONS

The Congress emerged as the second-largest party in the Lok Sabha elections with 99 seats in its kitty, which is a massive jump from its tally of 52 seats in the 2019 general elections.

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Notably, INDIA bloc, of which the grand old party is a key constituent, won a total of 234 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, leading to the Bharatiya Janata Party falling short of the majority 272 mark with 240 seats.

The BJP-led NDA is set to comeback with the Modi government for a third consecutive term with a total of 292 seats.

(With agency inputs)

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