A strong demand for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to take the role of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha was today made at a meeting of Indian Youth Congress (IYC). "Youth Congress leaders want Rahulji should be Leader of Opposition. Demand raised before leadership at Youth Congress meeting," IYC chief Rajeev Satav said in a tweet following the meeting. Satav said that although Gandhi assured them that he would be with them through thick and thin, he did not reveal his mind over the demand for him to be Leader of Opposition.
The IYC members also told Gandhi that they would back him the way they had backed former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during her difficult days. The meeting saw Gandhi asking the youth body to be battle- ready even as he promised widespread changes in Congress. "Rahulji urges youth Congress leaders to be ready for struggle. He addressed Youth Congress at Constitution Club, New Delhi," Satav said in another tweet after the nearly three-hour-long meeting.
Assembly elections are due in Delhi, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana later this year. Gandhi also told the gathering that the party would see greater representation of the youth and discussed the reasons that led to Congress ending up with its worst-ever tally of 44 MPs in Lok Sabha. A number of Congress general secretaries have been pitching for Gandhi to become the Leader of Opposition saying that since the Lok Sabha polls had seen the Congress Vice President being pitted as the party's face against BJP's Narendra Modi, it was but natural for him to lead when the chips were down.
It is also not clear as to what Congress President Sonia Gandhi would do regarding the post of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. The names doing the rounds include Kamal Nath, who was elected for his ninth term this year, and Veerappa Moily, a former Union and chief minister. Party insiders, however, say that the majority are in favour of the post to be occupied by either Rahul or Sonia Gandhi.