After Ghulam Nabi Azad, who could be the next Leader of Opposition? Here's a list of probables
With the tenure of Ghulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha nearing an end, the Congress party is busy in deciding who is going to be the next Leader of Opposition (LoP). Azad's term is ending on February 15.
According to Hindustan Times' sister publication Livehindustan, former finance minister P Chidambaram and former Railway minister Mallikarjun Khadge are the frontrunners. Khadge has held the position of LoP in the Lok Sabha and been the party's voice on many issues in the Lower House.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal are the other senior leaders who might be considered for the post, but they have raised voice in the past suggesting overhaul of the party and that could be an issue, Livehindustan reported.
The Congress, however, is keen to bring Azad back to the Upper House. A senior party leader, who did not wish to be named, earlier told HT that Azad could be nominated from Kerala in April when three members from the state retire.
Azad was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir in 2015. But now that it has turned into a union territory, there's a possibility that Azad will have to leave his home state in order to come back to Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, in his farewell speech on Tuesday, Azad said that he is proud to be and Indian Muslim. "I am among those fortunate people who never went to Pakistan. When I read about circumstances in Pakistan, I feel proud to be a Hindustani Muslim."
Watch: ‘Proud to be a Hindustani Muslim’, says Azad
"If any Muslim should feel proud in the world, it should be the Indian Muslim. Over the years, we have seen how Muslims countries from Afghanistan to Iraq getting destroyed. There are no Hindus or Christians there - they are fighting amongst themselves," he added.
The 71-year-old summed up his more than four-decade-old political career in few Urdu couplets and a brief speech.
Before his speech, an emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi bid adieu to Azad, recalling his contribution to the country, the House and also his party.
PM Modi also said that the person who will replace Azad as Leader of Opposition "will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House".