Modi Set to Take Oath as PM Today; Uncertainty Surrounds Rahul Gandhi’s Role as Leader of Opposition

Leadership Questions Arise as Modi Prepares for Third Term
As Narendra Modi is poised to take the oath for his third term as Prime Minister following the BJP-led NDA alliance’s landslide victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections, attention is also focused on the Congress party’s next moves, particularly concerning Rahul Gandhi’s potential role as Leader of the Opposition.

Rahul Gandhi emerged from the elections with notable victories in the Wayanad and Raebareli constituencies, solidifying his reputation as a matured leader. However, the crucial question remains: will he step into the role of Leader of the Opposition? This speculation was fueled when Sonia Gandhi, re-elected as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, was asked about this possibility. Her response was intriguing: “You should ask him.”

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) has expressed strong support for Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. They passed a resolution suggesting that he should be appointed Leader of the Opposition, citing his overwhelming victories in Rae Bareli and Wayanad, where he won by margins exceeding 3.5 lakh votes. The absence of a designated Leader of the Opposition in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha due to insufficient opposition strength (a minimum of 10 percent of seats is required) adds to the significance of this decision.

KC Venugopal, the party’s national general secretary, reported post-CWC meeting that the committee had unanimously requested Rahul Gandhi to accept the responsibility of leading the opposition in the Lok Sabha. The CWC resolution praised Rahul’s pivotal role in the election campaign, attributing much of Congress’s rejuvenation to his initiatives like the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. These campaigns, reflecting his vision and commitment, were considered landmark events that energized the party’s base and resonated with millions of voters.

The resolution highlighted the impact of Rahul Gandhi’s focused and targeted campaign, which prioritized the protection of the Constitution. His efforts were seen as central to Congress’s strategy and success in the 2024 elections. Additionally, the Paanch NYAY-Pachees Guarantee program, an outcome of his extensive outreach through the Yatras, successfully addressed the concerns and aspirations of diverse groups, including youth, women, farmers, and marginalized communities.

Reflecting on past performances, the Congress party’s seat count in the Lok Sabha saw a modest increase from 44 seats in 2014 to 52 in 2019, culminating in a significant jump to 99 seats in the latest elections. Despite this progress, the broader victory narrative belonged to the INDIA alliance, which collectively secured 232 seats. This left the BJP narrowly short of a majority by 32 seats. Nevertheless, Modi is set to continue as Prime Minister, with the NDA securing a solid lead of 293 seats.

Adding to the celebratory mood for Congress, Sonia Gandhi took pride in the election of 13 female MPs to the Lok Sabha, marking a noteworthy achievement for the party in this election cycle.

Shruti Suman

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