Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge is likely to replace Ghulam Nabi Azad as the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and the party has written to the Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament in this regard, sources said. The Congress has written to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu for appointing Mr Kharge to the post of Leader of Opposition after Mr Azad’s retirement, they told news agency Press Trust of India.
The post will fall vacant after Ghulam Nabi Azad’s tenure as a Rajya Sabha member ends on February 15. Mallikarjun Kharge was the leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha from 2014 to 2019. Kharge (78), who was Leader of Congress in the previous Lok Sabha, was elected to Rajya Sabha in June last year after the party leadership decided to accommodate him in the Upper House, as he had lost the 2019 polls. He will be the second leader from Karnataka to be the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha after M S Gurupadaswamy, one of the founders of Janata Party and the second Leader of Opposition between March 1971 and April 1972. Overall, he will be the 17th Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. The Congress could not get the Leader of Opposition’s post in the previous and the current Lok Sabha as its numbers were less than the mandated 10 per cent of the total number of seats in the Lower House for claiming the post.