Rahul Gandhi Becomes Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha: Historic First Constitutional Role After Rajiv-Sonia Era

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been appointed as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The announcement was made after a meeting of leaders from the India Alliance at the residence of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday (June 25). Following this decision, Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Board, wrote a letter to the Protem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab regarding this matter.

This marks the first constitutional position that Rahul Gandhi will hold in his 20-year political career. He becomes the third member of the Gandhi family to hold this position, following his father, former PM Rajiv Gandhi, who held it from 1989-90, and his mother Sonia Gandhi, who held it from 1999 to 2004.

Vacant for 10 Years: Leader of Opposition Position in Lok Sabha

The position of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha has been vacant for the past 10 years. Neither in 2014 nor in 2019 did any opposition party possess the necessary minimum of 10% of the total 543 members required to claim the Leader of Opposition position. To stake a claim for this position, any party needs to have at least 55 members in the Lok Sabha.

In the 2024 elections, Congress emerged as the largest opposition party with 99 seats. Compared to BJP’s 240 seats and NDA’s 293 seats, the India Alliance succeeded in winning 232 seats. Previously, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress had won only 52 seats. In the 2014 elections, the party managed to secure victories on just 44 seats.

Powers and Responsibilities for Rahul Gandhi as Leader of Opposition

As the Leader of Opposition, Rahul Gandhi will acquire several powers and responsibilities. He will be part of the principal panel responsible for selecting the Chief Election Commissioner and two other members of the Election Commission, alongside the Prime Minister. 

Additionally, Rahul will serve as a member on committees responsible for appointing the Lokpal, Directors of ED and CBI, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Central Information Commissioner, and the Chief of NHRC. The Prime Minister heads these committees, marking the first time decisions on these appointments will require agreement from Rahul Gandhi alongside Prime Minister Modi.

Rahul will also chair the Lok Sabha Public Accounts Committee, responsible for auditing government expenditures and conducting continuous reviews of government functioning. Furthermore, he may invite Presidents or Prime Ministers of other countries to India to share their perspectives on national issues.

Facilities for Leader of Opposition: Government Bungalow, Salary, and More

Under the Opposition Leaders Act of 1977, the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament is equivalent to that of a Cabinet Minister. Those holding this position are entitled to the salary, allowances, and other facilities equivalent to a Central Minister.

After becoming the Leader of Opposition, Rahul Gandhi will receive a government bungalow and an office in the secretariat similar to that of a Cabinet Minister. He will be entitled to a monthly salary and allowances totaling Rs. 3,30,000. As a Member of Parliament, Rahul currently receives a monthly salary of Rs. 1,00,000 and an allowance of Rs. 45,000.

Rahul will also receive high-level security comparable to that of a Cabinet Minister. Additionally, he will be provided with free air travel, rail travel, government vehicles, and other amenities.

Proposal to Make Rahul Gandhi Leader of Opposition

On June 8th, a proposal was put forth to appoint Rahul Gandhi as the Leader of Opposition. This decision came just four days after the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results on June 4th, during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee. 

The proposal emphasized that Rahul Gandhi had spearheaded the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, both of which marked historic milestones in the country’s politics. These journeys generated hope and confidence among millions of Congress workers and voters.

Initially hesitant to accept the position, Rahul Gandhi eventually agreed to become the Leader of Opposition after being persuaded by his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi.

Offer of Cabinet Position to Rahul Gandhi During UPA Era

According to media reports, during the tenure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh between 2004 and 2014, there were efforts to pressure Rahul Gandhi into accepting a cabinet position in the UPA government. However, he declined the offer at that time.

Rahul Gandhi assumed the presidency of the Congress Party in 2017 but resigned from the position following the party’s poor performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, taking moral responsibility. Under his leadership, Congress could only secure 44 seats in 2014 and 52 seats in 2019.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.