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Cong leader Sonia Gandhi takes oath as Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan

Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has decided to forgo contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after holding Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli seats for nearly two decades

Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi takes oath in Rajya Sabha (Photo: X.com/Mallikarjun Kharge)

Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi takes oath in Rajya Sabha (Photo: X.com/Mallikarjun Kharge)

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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Sonia Gandhi, the Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, was sworn in as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Jaipur, Rajasthan, on Thursday. The 77-year-old leader chose to forgo contesting another election to retain her long-held Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, which she had represented for five consecutive terms since 2004.
 

Congratulating Gandhi on her new position, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge wrote on X (formerly Twitter), "My best wishes to the Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, as she begins her new innings by taking the oath in the Rajya Sabha today. Her courageous resilience and dignified grace, in the wake of adversity and upheaval, shall continue to guide our Parliamentary strategy. She has completed 25 years serving the Lok Sabha, and now my fellow members and I await her presence in the Upper House. I wish her a fruitful tenure ahead."


While Congress leaders cited Sonia Gandhi's "poor health" as the reason for seeking a Rajya Sabha seat, her decision coincides with electoral uncertainty in Rae Bareli, a seat now coveted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after their victory in neighboring Amethi, formerly held by Rahul Gandhi, in the previous election. Rae Bareli remains the only Lok Sabha seat won by Congress in Uttar Pradesh during the last general election.

This marks the first instance in fifty years of a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family pursuing a Rajya Sabha route to Parliament, with the last being Indira Gandhi briefly in 1964 before opting for Lok Sabha contests.
 
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Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha recently welcomed 12 new members who were sworn in by Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. The oath-taking ceremony, held at Parliament House and attended by Deputy Chairman Harivansh and Secretary-General P K Mody, saw representation from the BJP, Congress, and RJD. Their tenure, commencing from April 3, fills vacancies left by the retirement of 54 members on April 2 and 3.
 
The newly sworn-in members include Dharmshila Gupta, Manoj Kumar Jha, Sanjay Yadav, Govindbhai Laljibhai Dholakia, Subhash Chander, Harsh Mahajan, G C Chandrashekhar, L Murugan, Ashok Singh, Chandrakant Handore, Medha Vishram Kulkarni, and Sadhna Singh, representing states such as Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. Their induction marks the beginning of a new tenure in the Upper House.

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First Published: Apr 04 2024 | 11:55 AM IST

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