Sonia Gandhi elected leader of Congress parliamentarians, to pick Lok Sabha head, chief whip after consulting party

Sonia, UPA chairperson, was re-elected as the chief of the Congress Parliamentary Party in the meeting held on Saturday morning. The Opposition party held the CPP meeting a day after the new Cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was assigned their portfolios.

Reportedly, the Congress Parliamentary Party authorised Sonia to pick the party's leader in the Lok Sabha and Chief Whip. She has convened a meeting of senior leaders on Saturday afternoon to decide on the matter, PTI reported.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted in congrats for his mother's election, and said, "Under her leadership, the Congress will prove to be a strong and effective opposition party, that will fight to defend the Constitution of India."

The meeting, which was held for the first time since the declaration of the results of the General Election, was attended by all 52 newly-elected Lok Sabha MPs of the Congress. The party's Rajya Sabha members were also expected to be present at the meeting, PTI reported. Members of the Congress Working Committee were also present at the meeting.

The meeting was held in the Central Hall of Parliament and the MPs also reportedly discusses the Congress' strategy for the upcoming session of Parliament, which is scheduled to begin on 17 June.

Sonia's name was proposed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and seconded by Jharkhand MP Jothimani S and Kerala MP K Sudhakaran. Sonia, in her speech, lauded the role of Congress president Rahul Gandhi during the Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul led the "party from the front with dynamism", she said, adding that the party with its 52 MPs in Lok Sabha will play the role of the Opposition sincerely and raise people's issues.

This was the first official meeting that Congress president Rahul Gandhi attended after the meeting of the party's working committee held on 25 May, where he offered to quit as Congress chief. The CWC has already rejected his offer to resign and unanimously passed a resolution authorising him to bring structural changes in the party at all levels in a bid to revamp it. Rahul, however, has remained adamant on stepping down and has asked the Congress to elect a non-Gandhi president to helm the party.

On Friday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the slump in economic growth and unemployment are two important challenges before the country and expressed the hope that the new government would address these issues.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 02, 2019 09:07:35 IST