Arun Jaitley, the Leader of House in Rajya Sabha

RSTV Bureau

arun_jaitley465Union Defence, Finance Minister and Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has been appointed as the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha while Senior Congress leader and minister of Health and Family welfare in UPA-2 Ghulam Nabi Azad has been made the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House.

The Vice-President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari made this announcement on the first day’s sitting of the Upper House after the Lok Sabha polls.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had designated Ghulam Nabi Azad as leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha and named Anand Sharma as the deputy leader of the party in the Upper House on Sunday.

“The Congress Consitution has granted all authorities to the party president to exercise its power to appoint anyone. She used that power to nominate Azad as Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha and Anand Sharma as Deputy Leader,” Janardan Dwivedi announced.

Meanwhile, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, who overcomes Arun Jaitley in Lok Sabha elections, has been made the Deputy Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, one of the two Congress MPs from Madhya Pradesh, was made the Chief Whip in Lok Sabha, while Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son and lone MP from the state, Deepender Singh Hooda and Kerala MP K C Venugopal were appointed as whips in the Lok Sabha.

Scindia is considered close to Rahul Gandhi and had been made the campaign committee chief of the party for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh last year.

Congress has 67 members in the 245-member House, thereby meeting the requirement of having ten per cent of the total strength of the House to get the post of Leader of the Opposition.

The two major appointments come on the back of the party appointing Mallikarjun Kharge, a senior Dalit leader from Karnataka, the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha and former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh the party’s Deputy Leader in the Lower House.

Azad, who contested the Lok Sabha election from Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir and lost by over 60,000 votes, is a party expert leader and one of the senior most members in the Rajya Sabha.