The BJP’s new seating arrangement in the Lok Sabha has left a couple of bruised egos. But that was inevitable. Several biggies have made it to the lower House where the party was short on talent after the 2004 elections.
Besides L.K. Advani, who continues as Leader of Opposition (LoP), Shahnawaz Hussain alone could retain the seat he occupied in the previous House. He sat behind A.B. Vajpayee as the BJP’s sole Muslim face.
But senior leader Jaswant Singh, still smarting from the loss of privileges as LoP in the Rajya Sabha, hasn’t got the seat he wanted, next to Advani in the front row. That slot has gone to Advani’s deputy, Sushma Swaraj who notified the new plan to BJP MPs.
Jaswant will sit way down in the hierarchy— after Swaraj, BJP chief Rajnath Singh and M M Joshi.
Jaswant hasn’t shown up in the House thus far in the ongoing Budget session.
As the front row on the Speaker’s left has space for only six, including the Deputy Speaker when he’s not presiding, former Union Minister Anant Kumar has got relegated to the second row.
Other frontbenchers who won elections but lost seats they had in the previous House are former Madhya Pradesh CM Kailash Joshi and former minister of state Harin Pathak. The second line is reserved for Kumar, Yashwant Sinha, Gopinath Munde, Shahnawaz etc. The Joshi-Pathak duo will keep company with Arjun Munda, Sumitra Mahajan and Maneka Gandhi in the third row.