Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was elected the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party at a meeting of the newly elected Congress Lok Sabha MPs on Saturday. She said that several “decisive measures” were being considered in order to strengthen the party, PTI reported.

“Your vote to the Congress party is a vote for safeguarding our Constitution, a vote for economic and social progress, a vote for liberty, and for social justice,” Gandhi said.

She asked the MPs to not let their guard down and participate as an effective Opposition, ensuring smooth coexistence with like-minded parties in the Rajya Sabha. Gandhi also urged the newly elected Congress leaders to raise matters that will resonate with party workers.

Gandhi said that they will support the government’s reform measures, but oppose its “divisive and regressive actions”, according to PTI. She went on to congratulate Congress President Rahul Gandhi on a “valiant and relentless campaign”.

The CPP which comprises the new MPs and members of the Rajya Sabha met at the Central Hall of Parliament on Saturday to elect a leader in the Lower House and strategise for the upcoming session. Sonia Gandhi’s name was proposed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and seconded by Jothimani S, an MP from Jharkhand, and Kerala MP K Sudhakaran.

Sonia Gandhi won Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. She is also the chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.

The CPP has reportedly authorised Sonia Gandhi to choose the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha. A meeting will take place on Saturday afternoon to decide on the matter.

She also said that even though the Congress had 44 MPs in the previous Lok Sabha and nearly 55 in Rajya Sabha, they ensured that “some of the UPA’s historic Acts were not diluted”.

Rahul Gandhi thanked the voters and Congress workers at the event, said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. “Every Congress member must remember that each one of you is fighting for the Constitution, for every person in India irrespective of the colour of his skin or belief,” Surjewala quoted Rahul Gandhi as saying.

Soon after the meeting, Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Congratulations to Smt Sonia Gandhi on being elected Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party. Under her leadership, the Congress will prove to be a strong & effective opposition party, that will fight to defend the Constitution of India.”

This was the first official meeting that Rahul Gandhi attended after the meeting of the party’s working committee on May 25, when he offered to quit as party chief. The Congress Working Committee had rejected his offer to resign and unanimously passed a resolution authorising him to bring structural changes in the party at all levels.

Rahul Gandhi has reportedly been adamant on resigning from his post following the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. His party was able to secure only 52 of the 542 seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections – eight seats more than it won in 2014. The BJP won 303 out of 542 seats to get a second straight term in power.