In a major political development, Congress on Tuesday appointed its lone MP from West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as the leader of the party in the 17th Lok Sabha, on the second day of the Lower House of Parliament.
In a letter written to the Lok Sabha, Congress has stated that Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will be the leader of the party in the Lower house and on all important selection committee including the CBI and CVC among others.
He has replaced senior party leader and former Congress leader of Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge after he was defeated by BJP's Umesh Jadhav from Gulbarga, Karnataka by a margin of 95,452 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The decision was taken in the Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group meeting chaired by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day, after party president Rahul Gandhi denied to accept the position as per reports.
Five-time MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is the lone Congress MP from Bengal representing Berhampore since 1999. He is also a former president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress from 2014 to 2018. In the UPA-2 government under former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, he serves as the Union Minister of State for Railways.
Besides Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram MP), K Suresh (Mavelikkara) and Manish Tewari (Anandpur Sahib) were also in the fray for the post.
Following the massive debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress has been in disarray amid Rahul Gandhi's resignation drama. Although the party’s working committee rejected his resignation, there has been no substantial clarity given by Congress on the future of Rahul Gandhi's position as the party chief.
Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi on Monday took the oath to duty as the Wayanad Member of Parliament and Raebareli MP respectively during the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha in Delhi.