Rahul Gandhi to be Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, says Congress

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi will be the Leader of Opposition in the 18th Lok Sabha, the party said on Monday.

Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi has informed Lok Sabha pro tem speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab about the Opposition alliance’s decision, party General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal told reporters.

It was not clear if the Lok Sabha speaker’s office had recognised the nomination of Rahul Gandhi for the post. If appointed, this will be the first time since 2014 that the Lower House of Parliament will have a Leader of Opposition.

A political party with at least 10% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha, which is not part of the government, is eligible to nominate the Leader of Opposition. This criterion was not met in the last two Lok Sabha terms.

The Leader of the Opposition is part of important committees such as those for the selection of the election commissioners and the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition INDIA bloc collectively won 232 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party won 240 seats, a significant fall from its tally of 303 seats in 2019. As it fell short of the majority mark of 272 seats, it had to depend on its partners in the National Democratic Alliance to form the government.

This is also the first time that the Congress will have one of its MPs as the Leader of Opposition in the Lower House since 2004, when Sonia Gandhi held the post during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government.

Between 2014 and 2019, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge held the position of the single largest Opposition party’s leader in the Lok Sabha. He was succeeded by party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who held the post between 2019 and 2024.

Kharge, now the Congress president, has been the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha since 2021.

On Monday, Rahul Gandhi, a former Congress president, took oath as an MP for the fifth time. In the recent general elections, he had won Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat as well as the Wayanad constituency in Kerala.

Last week, the Congress announced that he will retain Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli seat as an MP can represent only one Lok Sabha seat, according to the provisions of the Representation of People Act.

Rahul Gandhi represented Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi constituency from 2004 till 2019, when he became the Wayanad MP.

 


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