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India’s Rahul Gandhi nominated as opposition leader after election gains

Gandhi’s Congress party’s election results defied analysts’ expectations, and helped rehabilitate his political career.

Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family that governed India for decades in the wake of independence, has been nominated to lead India’s opposition in parliament following an election result that pulled his party back from the political wilderness.

A meeting of the leadership of Congress – the leading opposition party in the country – on Saturday voted unanimously to recommend Gandhi’s election as India’s official opposition leader. The role had been left vacant since 2014.

“All participants unanimously passed the resolution that Rahul Gandhi should take the position of leader of opposition in the parliament,” General Secretary KC Venugopal told a news conference after a meeting of the party’s executives.

The nomination will be put before a meeting of the 232 lawmakers belonging to a Congress-led opposition alliance later on Saturday.

On Tuesday, India’s governing BJP lost its majority in the chamber in an election that defied exit polls and shocked many supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BJP will still form the next government, but it will, for the first time in its 10 years in leadership, be reliant on a clutch of regional partners under its National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Modi is set to be sworn into office for a third term on Sunday.

The six-week election saw 640 million voters head to the polls across India. It also saw Congress nearly double its parliamentary numbers, its best result since Modi swept to power a decade ago.

The comeback has aligned with Gandhi’s, who faced an embarrassing loss of his seat representing the city of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in 2019. This year,