Sonia Gandhi reshuffles Congress Parliamentary groups ahead of monsoon session
In a major reshuffle of Congress' Parliamentary groups, party chief Sonia Gandhi reconstituted its Parliamentary hierarchy in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha ahead of the Parliament's monsoon session. Interestingly, the names of dissenting leaders of Congress—dubbed "G-23"—also featured in some key positions. Among the senior faces introduced by Gandhi are P Chidambaram, Manish Tiwari, Ambika Soni, and Digvijaya Singh.
Adhir Ranjan, Gaurav Gogoi retain their position
After the reshuffle, both Congress leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Gaurav Gogoi will retain their positions in the Lok Sabha as Leader-of-Party and Deputy Leader of Party, respectively. The two new faces in the reconstituted seven-member Lok Sabha group are Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tiwari. Other members of the group include K Suresh as chief whip and whips Ravneet Singh Bittu and Manickam Tagore.
'G-23' dissenters land key positions
Apart from Tharoor and Tiwari, another "G-23" dissenter Anand Sharma retained his position in the Rajya Sabha as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. While Mallikarjun Kharge is the leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh has been named as chief whip. Ambika Soni, P Chidambaram, and Digvijaya Singh make up the other members of the Rajya Sabha group.
Who is the G-23?
The G-23 is a group of 23 senior Congress leaders. The leaders had last year written an explosive letter demanding full-time, active leadership after Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress chief, taking responsibility for the party's embarrassing defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
'Groups will meet daily to discuss issues concerning Parliament session'
"As the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, I have decided to reconstitute....groups to facilitate and ensure the effective functioning of our party in both Houses of Parliament. These groups will meet daily during the session and....inter-session periods....where Parliament issues are concerned," a statement by Gandhi read. Notably, Mallikarjun Kharge will be the convener of these joint meetings.
What roles do these groups play?
The Parliamentary groups have various roles, including mustering numbers, coordinating with various political parties, and deciding on key floor issues such as backing a bill or deciding on the extent of cooperation with the government. These groups are also responsible to decide issues that are to be raised in the Parliament and to coordinate with other Opposition parties on issues raised by them.
Monsoon session expected to be a full session
The monsoon session of the Parliament will begin on Monday (July 19) and will conclude on August 13. This session is expected to be a full session after the last two curtailed sessions. Congress is eyeing this session to corner the government on many key issues such as job loss, inflation, vaccination strategy, COVID-19 mismanagement, farm bill protests, the border situation with China, etc.