Rahul Gandhi will appoint key officials, as Leader of the Opposition

In his new role, Gandhi will be involved in appointing members of the ED, CBI, Central Vigilance Commission and Election Commission

Rahul Gandhi holds up a pocketbook edition of the Constitution of India (photo: PTI)
Rahul Gandhi holds up a pocketbook edition of the Constitution of India (photo: PTI)

NH Political Bureau

As Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be involved in the appointment of several key officials in the government.

For instance, as LoP, Gandhi will be on the committee that goes on to elect officials in the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Information Commission, the Lokpal as well as members of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

According to the house rules, the LoP is a Cabinet-rank post, and the incumbent sits on several key committees — public accounts, public undertakings, estimates, etc. He will also have an office in the parliament building and dedicated staff.

The LoP plays a key role in the allotment of seats and rooms in the Lower House as well, and in the supply of official documents, constitution of parliamentary committees and the daily business of the House.

Notably, this is the first time in 10 years that the Lok Sabha will have a Leader of the Opposition again, ever since Narendra Modi's first tenure as prime minister of India.

The Congress failed to get the required 10 per cent of seats (54) to secure the post in the last two elections. In 2014, the Congress, the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, won just 44 seats in 2014; in 2019, it got to 52.

In the past two Lok Sabha sessions, Mallikarjun Kharge and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were the designated leaders of the Congress in the House.

However, the government is still likely to get its way in the 18th Lok Sabha, because the selection panel for most of these appointments includes the prime minister and one other union minister along with the LoP.

According to the key players in the INDIA bloc, Gandhi was the clear choice to take over as LoP.

After the CWC (Congress Working Committee) meeting, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring had said: “We all have appealed to Rahul Gandhi to become the LoP. He is the only person who can face the Prime Minister. And when Rahul Gandhi will stand up, the youth of the country will feel safe.”

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