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Union minister Thawarchand Gehlot appointed Rajya Sabha leader

Gehlot is a prominent Scheduled Caste leader of the BJP, and the only SC leader to have a seat in the party’s parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body of the ruling party.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2019 00:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Thawarchand Gehlot,rajya sabha,virendra kumar
Social justice minister Thawarchand Gehlot has been appointed the leader of the house in Rajya Sabha(ANI/Twitter)

Social justice minister Thawarchand Gehlot has been appointed the leader of the house in Rajya Sabha, an official privy to the matter said.

He will replace Arun Jaitley, the former finance minister who opted out of the council of ministers due to health reasons.

Gehlot is a prominent Scheduled Caste leader of the BJP, and the only SC leader to have a seat in the party’s parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body of the ruling party.

The 71-year-old leader from Madhya Pradesh has an RSS background and was chosen as leader of the house in Rajya Sabha as he was one of the senior-most leaders after possible contenders — BJP president Amit Shah, Union minister Ravishankar Prasad and Smriti Irani, got elected to the Lok Sabha and relinquished their membership of the Upper house.

Gehlot is a four-term Lok Sabha MP and a second time member of the Rajya Sabha.

Separately, a government leader said Virendra Kumar, a seven-time parliamentarian from Madhya Pradesh, will be the Lok Sabha’s temporary Speaker when the lower house meets later this month for the first time.

As the Lok Sabha’s pro tem speaker, the lawmaker from Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh will administer oath to the newly elected MPs and preside over the sitting of the Lok Sabha, beginning June 17, to elect its speaker.

Kumar was also believed to be in the race for the post of Speaker, but his appointment as pro tem speaker could mean that he is out of the race. The election to the post of Speaker will take place on June 19, and a pro tem speaker is normally not elected to the post.

The interim speaker is appointed by Rashtrapati Bhavan on the basis of his or her experience in parliament to administer oath to new MPs. Kumar, who has won every election since 1996, is the third most-senior parliamentarian in the Lok Sabha.

Santosh Kumar Gangwar is the senior-most. But he cannot play this role because he is a Union minister.

Maneka Gandhi, the former women and child development minister, was widely expected to be named for the post by virtue of her seniority in the Lok Sabha after she did not find a place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new team. She was elected from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh in the national elections, her eighth term as a Lok Sabha member. She first entered the Lok Sabha in 1989.

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 00:02 IST