The Union Power Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, is emerging as the frontrunner to replace Mr Pranab Mukherjee as leader of the Lok Sabha. With the Central Bureau of Investigation not including his name in the Adarsh housing scam chargesheet, the Congress leadership is working out a way to evolve a consensus in the party on his name.
Sources said the party believes that Mr Shinde, who gets along with most political leaders, will be able to manage the fragile coalition and an aggressive Opposition in Parliament. Sources indicated that Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, too, is in favour of the Power Minister’s name.
A section of the Congress leadership had requested Ms Gandhi to take over the post, sources said. But, she was not keen as it demands more time in Parliament. “As Congress President she has other responsibilities, too. The leader of the Lok Sabha is a 24-hour job, particularly when the House is in session,” a senior leader said.
The names of Ministers, Mr P. Chidambaram, Mr Kamal Nath and Mr Kapil Sibal had also emerged for the post. However, it is learnt that the Congress leadership prefers a comparatively “non-controversial” figure to ensure smooth running of the House.
The next meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party is likely to take a decision in this effect.