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In Congress’s Search For New Lok Sabha Leader, A “G-23” Twist

In Congress's Search For New Lok Sabha Leader, A 'G-23' Twist

Congress to replace Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as leader in Lok Sabha (File)

New Delhi:

Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will be replaced as the party’s leader of in the Lok Sabha and a couple of leaders of G23 — dissenters who wrote an explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi last year — are contenders for the post, sources said.  Sources said Rahul Gandhi will not be the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. Monsoon session of parliament begins on July 19.

Those who are in the running for the post include Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tiwari. The names of Gaurav Gogoi, Ravneet Singh Bittu and Uttam Kumar Reddy are also being considered, sources said.

Of them, Mr Tharoor and Manish Tewari belong to the G-23, who sent the first critical letter to the party in August last year, flagging a drift in the leadership and demanding sweeping organisational changes. The letter triggered an internal storm and the leaders eventually ended up losing the various party positions they held.

The most prominent of them was Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was dropped as a general secretary though he remained part of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making panel. Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni and Mallikarjun Kharge were also removed as general secretaries of the All India Congress Committee.

Speculation about the removal of Mr Chowdhury has been on for long.
Party sources, however, said it is being done as the “One man one post” rule will be rigorously enforced now.

Mr Chowdhury is both chief of the Bengal Congress as well as the party’s Leader in the Lok Sabha. Others who hold two posts will also be relieved of one, sources said.

The party has called for a strategy session for parliament on July 15.

Sources said the Congress will demand an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the Rafale deal.  

The Rafale issue, which had lost steam after the Congress defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, has got fresh life after  a French court ordered an investigation into alleged “corruption and favouritism” in the Rs 59,000-crore deal.

The Congress has since been claiming that it is a vindication of its corruption allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.