The 231st session of the Rajya Sabha, which met soon after the joint session of Parliament on Monday had a new sitting order that reflected the change of guard at the Centre.
Unlike the UPA 1 and UPA II, the leader of the elder’s house is not the Prime Minister. Arun Jaitley is the new leader of the Rajya Sabha, a post held by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the past ten years. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sat next to Jaitley in the front row, as the chairman Hamid Ansari announced him as the new leader of the House.
Ghulam Nabi Azad is the leader of pposition, who succeeded Arun Jaitley. Azad was on Sunday named as Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha paving the way for his appointment as Leader of Opposition since Congress has 67 members in the 250-member Upper House, which is more than the minimum requirement of 10 percent of the total strength of the House to get LoP post.
On the row next to where Azad and deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha (P J Kurien of the Congress now) had Rajya Sabha veteran Karan Singh, now on third term in Upper House. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sat between Karan Singh and A K Antony and next to Antony was Anand Sharma.
As soon as the House assembled, Chairman Hamid Ansari called upon the new members in alphabetical order of the states they represent to take oath.
One member each from Assam, Haryana, West Bengal and Maharashtra, two each from Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and three from Bihar took oath in Hindi.
Andhra Pradesh member T Subbarami Reddy swore in the name of God in English. Two Gujarati members took oath in Gujarati and Husain Dalwai in Marathi while two members from Tamil Nadu took oath in Tamil. Ritabrata Banerjee from West Bengal took oath in Bengali as did Jogendranath Chowdhury and Ahamed Hassan.
Cong on opposition leader’s post
Amid indications that it may not get the post of the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha, the Congress on Monday demanded a “quick and proper” decision on the issue.
“We feel this is an important (post).... and should not be denied to the largest party in the opposition,” party spokesman Anand Sharma said. “There is a constitutional role the LoP plays and we leave it to their wisdom. What is the government view will be known through the Speaker.”
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan is expected to take a call on the issue soon.