Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who defeated senior BJP leader and now Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the recent general elections, is the Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha.
Captain Singh, the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala, has returned to the Lok Sabha after a gap of three decades.
Former Minister of State (MoS) for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the chief whip of the party in the Lok Sabha. Elected first to the House in a 2002 bypoll, Mr. Scindia has won three successive elections in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
While Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge and Capt. Singh were both born in 1942, the Harvard-educated, 43-year-old Mr. Scindia will bring some youthful energy to the party’s functioning in Parliament.
Mr. Scindia was also the campaign committee chief of the Congress for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh last year.
The two other whips of the Congress will be the lone MP from Haryana, Deepender Singh Hooda (36), and former Union MoS for Civil Aviation, K.C. Venugopal, one of the eight Congress MPs from Kerala.
Mr. Hooda is a third-time MP, while the 51-year-old Mr. Venugopal is a second-term MP. He has been an MLA thrice in Kerala and a State Minister.
The Congress leadership has tried to balance age with youth, as well as regions in selecting its functionaries for the Lok Sabha. While Mr. Kharge will be the sober face of the party, Captain Singh and Mr. Scindia will bring some vigour to the Opposition benches.
Next will be appointing leaders in the Rajya Sabha. As Mr. Kharge is from south India, speculation is that the party’s leader in Upper House will be from the north.
For Congress president Sonia Gandhi, leading a depleted party and once again renewing friendships with fellow opposition MPs to ensure floor coordination in the two Houses will be a paramount task.