National

18 Rajya Sabha MPs from Congress to retire in 2020

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s name is doing the rounds as a Rajya Sabha nominee. File photo: PTI

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s name is doing the rounds as a Rajya Sabha nominee. File photo: PTI  

A section believes the old guard should make way for younger leaders

Beginning this month, 18 Congress MPs are going to retire in 2020, with 12 of them completing their term by April. But the party may manage to retain only half of these vacancies, given its strength in the State Assemblies.

So, amid the churn over leadership, the party’s choice of nominees to the Rajya Sabha could indicate the direction the party would take in the immediate future. It is already a matter of debate within the party who should replace such senior leaders as Moti Lal Vohra, Digvijaya Singh and Kumari Selja.

Traditionally, the Congress has sent its old guard to the Rajya Sabha, as much for their loyalty as for their experience in governance. But a section of the party believes the old guard should make way for younger and articulate leaders to make an impact in Parliament.

In April, the Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will have three vacancies each, while Chhattishgarh will have two vacancies. The names of younger leaders such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, Randeep Surjewala, Jitin Prasada and R.P.N. Singh are being floated as possible replacements by the section that is close to former party president Rahul Gandhi.

There is also speculation on Uttar Pradesh in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra being sent to the Rajya Sabha from any of the Congress-ruled States.

Asked to comment on such reports at a press conference on Friday, Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said such decisions would be taken by the party president.

The Congress did not want to engage in any public debate on its choice for the Rajya Sabha, but the senior leaders do not want to cede ground to leaders viewed as being close to Mr. Gandhi. That is why some of the younger leaders close to Mr. Gandhi believe questions about a leadership vacuum has been timed to target the former Congress chief.

“Finally, who makes it to the Rajya Sabha will give us an idea of which leader prevailed in the final decision-making,” said a Congress member.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:16:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/18-rs-mps-from-cong-to-retire-in-2020/article30890972.ece

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