The position of the floor leader or the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha for the Bharatiya Janata Party is vacant after the resignation of senior leader Thawarchand Gehlot who is now the governor of Karnataka. The party will have to make the announcement ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament which begins on July 19.
The most likely frontrunner is Union minister Piyush Goyal who is currently the deputy floor leader for Rajya Sabha. If things go as per practice, then Goyal is likely to occupy the position for the party. As a senior parliamentarian, Goyal has been an effective floor manager, including during the passage of crucial bills such as Triple Talaq and Article 370. Goel, who hails from Maharashtra, shares an excellent rapport with people from the state and also other leaders in the opposition. He was also the railway minister and currently occupies three portfolios, including the commerce and industry after the recent Cabinet reshuffle.
The other name that is doing the rounds is that of labour minister Bhupendra Yadav who was recently inducted into the Cabinet. Yadav has been a seasoned politician, who is well-versed with Parliamentary proceedings rules and regulations. If he’s not made the Rajya Sabha floor leader, then he will occupy the post of the deputy floor leader.
Another prominent name is that of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She is the country’s first full-time finance and defence minister under Modi’s tenure. She is currently the only woman in the Cabinet committee for Parliamentary affairs and also the Cabinet committee for security. Interestingly, just before Gehlot, the same position was occupied by the former finance minister Arun Jatiley who mentored Sitharaman. Jaitley, who shared good relations with the leaders in the opposition bench, was known for his sharp political analysis and legal arguments.
Education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is a key figure in the floor management in the Upper House, is also in the race.
According to government sources, the announcement will be made in a couple of days by Parliamentary affairs minister who will submit the name to the Rajya Sabha chairman for his approval. Rajya Sabha is likely to get its new leader of the House before Sunday when a series of meetings will take place ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament.
The Rajya Sabha Leader of the house is a prestigious position where crucial interventions are needed during arguments between the treasury benches and the opposition.