UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was on Saturday re-elected the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) at a meeting of the party MPs at the Central Hall of Parliament in the national capital. Sonia, who was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli constituency, will now pick the Congress leader in the Lower House.
Saturday’s Congress meeting was attended by all 52 newly-elected Lok Sabha MPs, apart from Rajya Sabha members. Even though the number of party lawmakers in the Lower House is higher than that in 2014, the Congress is still short of three members to claim the post of Leader of Opposition.
Taking to Twitter, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Sonia Gandhi elected as the leader of Congress Parliamentary Party! She says, ‘we thank the 12.13 crore voters for reposing faith in the Congress Party.”
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’. pic.twitter.com/H4z9i3dN8B
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) June 1, 2019
Exuding confidence in his mother, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said under Sonia’s leadership, the party will prove to be an “effective opposition party to defend the Constitution of India”. “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 and effective opposition party, that will fight to defend the Constitution of India,” he tweeted.
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. pic.twitter.com/iUcdB51tHE
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 1, 2019
This was the first official meeting that Rahul attended after the May 25 meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), where he had offered to quit as Congress chief. The CWC had rejected the offer and unanimously passed a resolution authorising him to bring structural changes in the party at all levels in a bid to revamp it.
“Rahul Gandhi thanked the voters and Congress workers. He says, ‘every Congress member must remember that each one of you is fighting for the Constitution, for every person in India irrespective of the colour of his skin or belief’,” Surjewala quoted him as saying during Saturday’s meeting.
On Friday, senior leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, K C Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewal attended the party’s core committee meeting to discuss the issue of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
On Thursday, Rahul held a meeting with former prime minister Manmohan Singh at the latter’s residence. Besides him, Rahul also met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the latter’s residence and held a meeting for nearly an hour, triggering talk of a possible merger between their parties. However, the NCP on Friday ruled out the merger ahead of the Assembly elections in September-October this year.
The Parliament session will commence on June 17 and conclude on July 26, the Cabinet announced on Friday. The pro-term speaker will administer the oath to the newly-elected members of the Lok Sabha on June 17 and 18. President Ram Nath Kovind will also address a joint sitting of the two Houses a day later, on June 20.
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