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In Rajya Sabha, Amit Shah to share front row with PM Modi, JD(U) moves closer to BJP

With Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) joining the NDA, its members will move from the opposition to the treasury benches

india Updated: Dec 13, 2017 22:49 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajya Sabha,Amit Shah,BJP chief
BJP president Amit Shah addresses a press conference in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)

In what is seen as a mini reshuffle of seats in the Upper House, first-time MP and BJP president Amit Shah will sit in the coveted front row of the Rajya Sabha from the upcoming winter session of Parliament, underlining his added importance in the House.

Shah had won the biennial election from Gujarat, his home state, in August this year along with Union minister Smriti Irani and Congress’ Ahmed Patel.

Sours said that although Rahul Gandhi has been elected as the Congress president, the party has so far not asked for any change in his seat in Lok Sabha.

The Congress, principal Opposition party, has two front row seats occupied by its president Sonia Gandhi and floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

The BJP president has been allotted seat number 3 — after Leader of the House Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi — in the front row.

The seat belonged to Venkaiah Naidu until the latter resigned to become the country’s Vice-President.

From his new seat, Shah will be able to hold quick communications with the PM and the finance minister during crucial moments of the proceedings of the House.

It is significantly rare for a first-time MP to get a front row seat, which is usually reserved for former prime ministers and senior-most party leaders.

Apart from Shah’s, seats of at least twelve others MPs will be changed when the winter session begins on Friday.

Sources said that the Janata Dal (United), with its strength of 8 members, will move closer to the BJP in the treasury bench, following the formation of the new government in Bihar where JD(U) deserted its then ally RJD to form an alliance with the saffron party.

Since JD(U) rebel MP Sharad Yadav has been disqualified from the House, his seat will be taken by party MP Ram Chandra Prasad Singh.

The retirement of CPI(M) president Sitaram Yechury and the resignation of BSP supremo Mayawati had also opened up two vacancies in the front row.

Mayawati’s trusted aide Satish Mishra and CPI(M) veteran TK Rangarajan will move to the front row.

First Published: Dec 13, 2017 21:15 IST