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CWC passes resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to take charge as Leader of Opposition in 18th Lok Sabha

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New Delhi: In its first meeting after the declaration of the general election results, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) Saturday unanimously passed a resolution requesting Rahul Gandhi to take charge as the Leader of Opposition in the 18th Lok Sabha. 

Gandhi heard the sentiments of the party’s highest decision-making body and will take a call in the next two to four days on whether to take up the role or not, Congress general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal told reporters. 

“During the campaigning, we raised issues of social and political justice with great vigour. That has to continue in a greater manner inside the Parliament also. Rahul Gandhi is the best person to have a better, strong and vigilant opposition,” Venugopal said.

The CWC meeting, which started around 11.30 PM, was held at New Delhi’s The Ashok Hotel. The Congress Parliamentary Party will meet later in the evening to pick its legislative party chairperson, the post currently held by Sonia Gandhi.

CWC meeting underway at The Ashok Hotel in New Delhi | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
CWC meeting underway at The Ashok Hotel in New Delhi | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

With the Congress not having the required 10 percent of total MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha, it was not eligible to stake claim to the LoP’s post in 2014 and 2019 when it won 44 and 52 seats, respectively.

This time 99 candidates fielded by the Congress emerged as winners. On Thursday, its tally touched the three-digit mark with independent MP from Maharashtra’s Sangli Vishal Patil extending his unconditional support to the Congress. 

Addressing a press conference after the CWC meeting, Venugopal and Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh said the Lok Sabha results have put the party on a path to revival. 

The CWC also passed another resolution in which it underscored the need to acknowledge the challenges confronting it, particularly in light of its poor performance in some states. 

“We have recovered and revived no doubt but we still have a long way to go to occupy the pre-eminent position the party once held in the nation’s political life. The people of India have spoken — the Congress has been given another chance. It is now up to us to build on it,” it read.

Venugopal said a committee would be formed to examine the reasons behind the party’s poor performance in some states. This committee will submit its report to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, said Ramesh.

Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh — states where the party drew a blank — along with West Bengal and Bihar, where it either suffered a setback or improved its tally only marginally, are among the states which will be visited by members of the committee to ascertain what went wrong.

The need to review the factors behind the underperformance in these states also featured in Kharge’s opening speech at the CWC meeting.

Congress leader Deepinder Singh Hooda, among others at CWC meeting | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Congress leader Deepinder Singh Hooda, among others at CWC meeting | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Top Congress leaders who faced defeats in these states include former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Nakul Nath and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who was the party’s floor leader in the 17th Lok Sabha.

For the CWC, elevating Rahul Gandhi as the Leader of the Opposition in the incoming Lok Sabha was among the major areas of thrust though. One resolution singled out his role in reviving the party through the two cross-country Bharat Jodo Yatras in 2022-23 and 2024. 

While one saw Rahul marching on foot from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, covering more than 4,000 km, during the second one, he travelled on a bus from Manipur to Maharashtra, traversing more than 6,000 km.

“Both these yatras that reflected his own thinking and personality were historic turning points in our nation’s politics and instilled hope and confidence in lakhs of our workers and crores of our voters. His election campaign was single-minded, sharp and pointed and more than any other individual it was he who made the protection of our republic’s Constitution the central issue in the 2024 elections,” stated the CWC resolution.

Congress leader Alka Lamba, among others at CWC meeting | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Congress leader Alka Lamba, among others at CWC meeting | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

The CWC also praised Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, mainly for her role in Uttar Pradesh where the party won six Lok Sabha seats, for their contributions to the party’s campaign. 

It also thanked constituents of the INDIA bloc for performing “exceedingly well” in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. 

Meanwhile, Venugopal rejected reports suggesting that the INDIA bloc had offered the post of Prime Minister to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, whose JD(U) was in a pre-poll alliance with the BJP and is now crucial to ensure a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On 5 June, the INDIA bloc parties met at Kharge’s residence in Delhi and decided against making any immediate move to stake a claim to form the government. It decided to wait for the opportune time to do so, suggesting that constituents of the BJP-led NDA — JD(U) and TDP — upon whom the next NDA government’s future shall rest, will be closely watched. 

At the same time, responding to a question, Ramesh said that the INDIA bloc parties have not yet received any invitation to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Modi and other Cabinet ministers scheduled for Sunday.

“If and when the invitation is received, we will take a call. But so far only international leaders have been invited it seems,” Ramesh said.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)


Also Read: Congress tripled strike rate in direct LS contests with BJP, up 21 percentage points from 2019


 



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