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28 Jun 2024

Rahul Gandhi Takes on Role of Leader of Opposition: A New Chapter in His Political Journey


As the latest session of the Lok Sabha commenced, the political stage saw a significant development: Rahul Gandhi, a prominent Congress leader, was appointed as the Leader of Opposition (LoP). 


This marks a noteworthy milestone in Gandhi's political career spanning over two and a half decades, as he assumes a constitutional post for the first time. This development also signals a rejuvenated opposition, poised to challenge the government more effectively after a decade of relative inactivity.


Historical Context and Significance


Rahul Gandhi's appointment as the LoP is historically significant for several reasons. This is the first time in ten years that the opposition has managed to secure a strong foothold in the Lok Sabha. Previously, in both the 2014 and 2019 elections, no single opposition party met the required threshold of 10 percent of the total MPs, which equates to 54 seats, leaving the LoP position vacant. 


Such vacancies were last seen in 1980 and 1989. Gandhi's new role not only bolsters his political stature but also aligns with the tradition of the Gandhi family's involvement in leading the opposition. His mother, Sonia Gandhi, and his father, Rajiv Gandhi, have both previously held this position.


The Role and Its Benefits


As the Leader of Opposition, Rahul Gandhi will receive a host of privileges and responsibilities akin to those of a Cabinet Minister. His new role comes with a monthly salary of Rs 3.30 lakh, a designated office in the Secretariat, high-level security, a government-provided bungalow, a car with a driver, and a staff of 14 people. This enhanced status will place him higher in the protocol list and position him as a natural contender for the Prime Ministerial post from the opposition in the future.


Responsibilities and Influence


Beyond the perks, the role of the LoP carries significant responsibilities. Gandhi will be involved in key appointments, including those of the Chief Election Commissioner, other Election Commissioners, the Lokpal, and the CBI Chief. 


His input will also be sought in appointments to the Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Information Commission, among other important positions. This influence underscores the pivotal role the LoP plays in shaping the administrative and ethical framework of the government.


A Glimpse into Rahul Gandhi's Background


Born on June 19, 1970, Rahul Gandhi comes from a lineage of influential political figures. He has an estimated wealth of over 20 crores. His education began at St. Columba School in New Delhi, followed by higher secondary education at Doon School, Dehradun, and later, he graduated from Rollins College, Florida.


Political Milestones


Rahul Gandhi's political journey began in March 2004 when he contested from his father Rajiv Gandhi's constituency, Amethi, and won. He served as the Amethi MP for three consecutive terms until 2014. During this period, he was appointed General Secretary of the Congress Committee in 2007 and later as Vice President in 2013. 


By December 2017, he had risen to the position of Congress President. However, in the 2019 elections, he faced a significant defeat to BJP's Smriti Irani in Amethi but secured a victory from the Wayanad seat in Kerala. Following his loss in Amethi, he resigned as Congress President.


In recent years, Gandhi has been active in various political campaigns, most notably the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a 4,080 km padayatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, undertaken from September 2022 to January 2023. This was followed by the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from January to March 2024, spanning 6,700 km from Manipur to Mumbai. In the June 2024 Lok Sabha elections, he won from both Rae Bareli and Wayanad, eventually choosing to represent Rae Bareli.


Personal and Controversial Aspects


Rahul Gandhi's personal and professional life has been marked by several intriguing and controversial elements. He studied at the prestigious Doon School, where he was classmates with notable political figures like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasada. Despite securing only 62% in his 12th-grade exams, he gained admission to St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, through the sports quota.


After completing his education, Gandhi worked incognito as Raul Vinci for three years at the London-based Monitor Group, a management consulting firm. In 2002, he returned to India and established a technology consultancy firm, Backops Services Private Limited, in Mumbai. He was also reportedly involved in a company named Backops UK, which secured defense contracts from foreign suppliers. Additionally, there are 18 criminal cases registered against him across different cities in India.


A new chapter in Rahul’s career


Rahul Gandhi's appointment as the Leader of Opposition is a significant development in India's political landscape. It marks a new chapter in his career, offering him a platform to influence key decisions and appointments, and positions him as a central figure in the opposition. As he steps into this role, his political journey continues to evolve, shaped by both his family's legacy and his own experiences and actions in the Indian political arena.


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