Sushil Kumar Shinde emerges frontrunner for post of leader


The Union Power Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, is emerging as the frontrunner to replace Mr Pranab Mukherjee as leader of the Lok Sabha. With the CBI not including his name in the Adarsh housing scam chargesheet, the Congress leadership is working out a way to evolve a consensus in the party on his name.

Sources said the party believes that Mr Shinde, who is friends with all political leaders, will be able to manage the fragile coalition and an aggressive Opposition in Parliament. Sources indicated that the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, too, is in favour of the Power Minister’s candidature.

They said a section of the Congress leadership had requested Ms Gandhi to take over the post. She, however, was not keen as it demands more time in Parliament. “As Congress President she has other responsibilities, too. The leader of the Lok Sabha is a 24-hour job, particularly when the House is in session,” a senior leader said.

The names of Mr P. Chidambaram, Mr Kamal Nath and Mr Kapil Sibal had also come up. However, it is learnt that the Congress leadership prefers a comparatively “non-controversial” figure for the post to ensure the smooth running of the House.

The next meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party is likely to take a decision in this effect.