At the all-party meeting recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him a “yoddha”, or fighter.
The appointment of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from West Bengal, the most senior Congress MP in the Lok Sabha after Sonia Gandhi, as the party’s leader in the House, suggests that Congress president Rahul Gandhi may be keen to stay out of the leadership format altogether.
Many had hoped that Mr Gandhi accepting the post of leader of the party in the Lok Sabha would give the Congress ballast in Parliament, given his substantial performance in the House in recent times.
But it is becoming more and more apparent that Mr Gandhi is not just keen to step down as party chief in the aftermath of the emphatic defeat in the recent Lok Sabha polls, but also stay away from holding any other top position. Perhaps he can be persuaded to remain in the Congress Working Committee.
As it happens, the choice of Mr Chowdhury seems a very good one. He has been state chief of the Congress in West Bengal, besides being a very senior MP who is at ease with the working of Parliament. He is also something of a legend in state politics and a tough nut on his home turf, having successfully taken on all comers — first the CPI(M), then Mamata Banerjee and her TMC, and lastly the BJP. At the all-party meeting recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him a “yoddha”, or fighter.
By enthusiastically backing Mr Chowdhury over other putative aspirants, Mr Gandhi has demonstrated he is eager to rid the Congress of the “dynasty” virus and back proven merit.