BJP president Amit Shah will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Arun Jaitley in the front row of the treasury benches, adding weight to the NDA’s voice in the Rajya Sabha.
With M Venkaiah Naidu at the chairman’s seat in the upper house of Parliament, the front row position he occupied as a senior leader will now be taken up by Shah.
The seating arragements have been issued by the Rajya Sabha secretariat for new members.
Shah will be in the front row, on the other side of the aisle from Prime Minister Modi and BJP’s leader of the house, Arun Jaitley.
While Shah will add to the strength of the ruling party, the opposition side will be weakened with the absence of three leading and vocal occupants of its first row – rebel JD(U) member Sharad Yadav, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Mayawati of the BSP.
With Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) joining the NDA, its members will move from the opposition to the treasury benches.
Yadav was recently expelled from the party and disqualified by Rajya Sabha chairperson Naidu. JD(U) leader RCP Singh will now occupy what would have been Yadav’s seat as the party leader in the House.
The opposition voice will lose some of its strength with the absence of CPI(M) general secretary Yechury, whose tenure in the Rajya Sabha came to an end after his party decided not to give him a third term in Parliament.
Yechury’s front seat now will be taken by fellow-comrade T K Rangarajan.
The BSP will miss its chief Mayawati, who resigned from Parliament in a huff during its last session.
The BSP supremo had in July quit the Rajya Sabha, complaining that her voice was being muzzled. After her resignation, her seat was occupied by her confidant, BSP leader Satish Mishra.