CONG CHIEF … After Rahul Gandhi rejects plea, West Bengal MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to lead party in LS

NEW DELHI: With Congress leader Rahul Gandhi rejecting calls to lead the party MPs in the Lok Sabha, that job has been assigned to five-time MP from West Bengal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The senior MP thanked the leadership and said he would function as a foot-soldier for the party. Among the few other names considered for the post included Shashi Tharoor, MP from Kerala, but the choice finally fell on Chowdhury.
Chowdhury functioned as Union minister of state for Railways from 2012 to 2014, and also as PCC chief in West Bengal. He won the polls from
The Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, had been defeated in the LS polls in Karnataka this times. Several senior party MPs lost the polls as the Hindi-belt turned its back on the Congress in the LS polls, and the party drew a blank in several states faced with a second Modi wave at the hustings. This also included a senior Rahul-cum, Jyotiraditya Scindia from Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress cannot, for the second consecutive time, claim the Leader of Opposition status in the lower house, at does not have the requisite 10 per cent members in the 544-member house. It has 52 MPs in Lok Sabha, up from 44 in the last Lok Sabha. He represents Berhampore in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.
Rahul Gandhi who has returned from vacationing abroad, on Monday, reiterated his decision to step aside from leadership posts, but he took the oath as MP from Wayanad, Kerala on the first day of the swearing-in. –IHN-NN

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