Kharge to lead Congress in Lok Sabha

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 03, 2014

Mallikarjun Kharge

Rahul, Sonia decline post

Former Cabinet Minister and two-time Opposition Leader in the Karnataka Assembly, Mallikarjun Kharge, 72, has been appointed as the leader of Congress Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha. Kharge is now tipped to become the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in the Lower House.

Sources said Kharge was selected for the LOP’s job considering his legislative experience, after both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi declined to take up the post. There was no consensus on the name of former Minister Kamal Nath. Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily was also a contender for the post.

Age wise

“Congress President Sonia Gandhi has nominated Mallikarjun Kharge as the leader of the party in Lok Sabha,” party General Secretary in charge of organisation, Janardan Dwivedi, told reporters on Monday.

The Congress, being the largest party in the Opposition with 44 seats, will stake claim for the LOP’s post.

The party is depending on the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, which does not stipulate that the principal Opposition should have at least 10 per cent of the total number of members in Lok Sabha.

Kharge, who has won all the elections he has contested since 1972, is known to be a crusader against communalism in his home State, Karnataka. He has been Opposition leader in the State Assembly twice — against Janata Dal’s JH Patel and BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa.

Kerala and Karnataka have contributed the most (17 MPs) to the Congress’s numbers in the Lok Sabha.

Kharge is the senior-most leader from Karnataka and this helped him to take up the difficult task of leading the Opposition against the Narendra Modi Government.

Published on June 02, 2014

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