Sonia Gandhi to be chief of Congress Parliamentary Party

File photo of Sonia Gandhi

Chennai: Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has been elected the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) at the Central Hall of Parliament.

Sonia’s name was proposed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh at the first meeting of the newly-elected Congress Lok Sabha MPs at the Central Hall of Parliament this morning.

All 52 Lok Sabha MPs of the Congress are present at the meeting, besides its Rajya Sabha members, according to reports. Besides electing a new leader, the MPs will chalk out the party’s strategy for the upcoming session of Parliament, they said.

Sonia, who represents Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli in the Lok Sabha, is the chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

‘Smt. Sonia Gandhi elected as the leader of Congress Parliamentary Party! She says, ‘we thank the 12.13 Cr voters for reposing faith in the Congress Party’,’ Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

Sonia’s name was proposed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and seconded by Jharkhand MP Jothimani S and Kerala MP K Sudhakaran. In her speech, she lauded the role of Congress president Rahul Gandhi during the Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul led the “party from the front with dynamism”, she said, adding that the party with its 52 MPs in the Lok Sabha will play the role of the Opposition sincerely and raise people’s issues.

‘Congratulations to Smt Sonia Gandhi on being elected Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party. Under her leadership, the Congress will prove to be a strong & effective opposition party, that will fight to defend the Constitution of India,’ the Congress president tweeted.

This will be the first official meeting that Congress president Rahul Gandhi will attend after the 25 May meeting of the party’s working committee, where he had offered to quit as Congress chief.

The Congress Working Committee has already rejected his offer and unanimously passed a resolution authorising him to bring about structural changes in the party to revamp it.

This is the second time that the NDA government will not be faced by a leader of the Opposition as no party has managed the numbers – it requires 55 MPs of the Opposition party to elect a Leader of the Opposition. The Congress, the single Opposition party, has managed only 52 seats.

Also, in the 16th Lok Sabha, that was elected in 2014, there was no Leader of the Opposition with the Congress, the main Opposition party, totalling up  44 members in the Lower House.

(With agency inputs)

NT Bureau