'Clamour within Congress for making Rahul leader of opposition'

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New Delhi, May 30: There is growing clamour within the Congress to have party vice president Rahul Gandhi assume the position of leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, a former minister said Friday.

While party president Sonia Gandhi remained the first choice for the position, "it will be reasonable for her to say that she will take care of the over-all functioning of the party in parliament by supervising the leaders of opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha," said the minister, who did not want to be named.

According to him, if Sonia Gandhi declines to take up the position, Rahul Gandhi is the next best choice.

"He (Rahul) could become the party's working president and take the responsibility," said the minister, although he clarified that Rahul Gandhi could assume the position as the vice president also.

He said that by taking up the position, Rahul Gandhi would be signalling that he has the "courage" to take the responsibility of leading the party in parliament after the rout it suffered in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress won only 44 seats while its rival Bharatiya Janata Party won 282 and formed the government.

The leader admitted that some Congress leaders are angling for the position as well.

Officially, party spokesperson Shashi Tharoor told reporters Friday that when it came to the question of appointing the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, "the political leadership should be the face of the party too".

Kamal Nath, a senior Congress leader and former minister whose name was in circulation for the position, has been named as pro-tem speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha and will administer the oath to the newly-elected members.

IANS

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