National

Mallikarjun Kharge likely to be Leader of Opposition in RS

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on February 09, 2021

Mallikarjun Kharge   -  KSL

Leader’s experience in Lok Sabha, closeness to Gandhi family seen as huge positives

Mallikarjun Kharge has emerged as the front-runner for replacing Ghulam Nabi Azad as the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. Azad, the present leader of the Opposition party in the upper house, will retire on February 15.

According to Congress sources, the party prefers a senior person who can take along all sections of the Opposition and of the Congress. Though names such as Anand Sharma, P Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh are also doing the rounds as Azad’s successor, what makes Kharge the favourite of party high command is his experience as the leader of the party in Lok Sabha and his closeness to both Rahul Gandhi and the seniors in the Congress. Though Anand Sharma is the deputy leader of the party in the Upper House, he has ruffled a few feather for being member of the 23-leader group that recently questioned the way Congress is functioning in a letter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his speech during the meeting bid farewell to Azad that it will be tough to find a replacement for the veteran leader.

More chance

At least three Congress leaders with whom BusinessLine spoke, indicated that Kharge has more chance than Sharma, Chidambaram or Singh.

Recently, it was Kharge who briefed the media after Prime Minister’s speech in Rajya Sabha on the motion to thank the President. Kharge accused the Prime Minister of trying to malign the protesting farmers and divide them.

Officially, the party says that it has one more week to decide the new leader. “We are yet to discuss the matter. Azad’s term ends on February 15. The second part of budget session will begin on March 8. The party will give its name for the post of Leader of Opposition to Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. That is how it works,” a senior leader said.

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Published on February 09, 2021
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