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P Chidambaram, Digvijaya Singh in race to succeed Mallikarjun Kharge as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha

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NEW DELHI: With Mallikarjun Kharge set to become the Congress president, former finance minister P Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh are in the race to succeed him as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha , with Singh's nose seemingly ahead.

Sources said Kharge is set to resign as the leader of opposition in keeping with the party's "one man one post" norm. It will reopen the position too soon, as Kharge was nominated to the top Rajya Sabha post in February 2021 when Ghulam Nabi Azad retired from Parliament.

While Chidambaram is the seniormost among Congress MPs in the Upper House, followed by Singh, many believe that Kharge's elevation may bring regional balancing into play.

"It will be difficult for both the party chief and the leader of opposition in RS to be from southern region, especially when the leader in Lok Sabha too is from the east. A leader from the Hindi belt may have to be picked to balance the Congress leadership positions," a party source said, underlining that Rahul Gandhi too is now a Lok Sabha MP from Kerala.

Interestingly, Singh, who on Thursday collected the nomination form for the party president's election and announced his intent to contest, bowed out on Friday. He said he cannot fight against Kharge who is "my senior".

He added, "I met Kharge on Thursday to tell him that I will not contest if he was planning to. He told me that he was not."

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