As Thawarchand Gehlot takes over as the Governor of Karnataka, the next big question is who will replace him to become the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha.
With the Monsoon Session of Parliament all set to begin on July 19th, the Government is working on the process of nominating its Leader in the Upper House, and the final decision is expected within the next two days.
THE FRONT RUNNERS
The Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha is a member of the ruling party who becomes the face for the Treasury benches and handles the business in the House on behalf of the Government
With Gehlot resigning his Rajya Sabha membership on being appointed as Karnataka governor, the Deputy leader of Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal is one of the obvious contenders for the position. Goyal has experience of the functioning of the House as a deputy leader who has earlier worked very closely with Arun Jaitley when the latter was the face of the government in the council of the states.
The others in contention include newly inducted Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav. Yadav enjoys the support from the opposition leaders, he has a calm and poised demeanor and sources see him as a person who can best put the government’s point of view in the House. Again Yadav as protégé of Arun Jaitley has had the experience of heading many bi-partisan house committees on contentions issues.
Another name doing the rounds is that of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Pradhan has risen up to become a vociferous voice of the Government in the House. He too enjoys a fair equation in the Opposition ranks.
The leader of the House is an important position and he/she exercises direct influence on the parliamentary business.
After the Modi Government came to power, it was formed Union Minister Late Arun Jaitley who was nominated as the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha in 2019. Prior to that, the position was held by Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
As per the rule book, the Prime Minister automatically becomes of the leader of the House of which he is a member. Dr Manmohan Singh being a Rajya Sabha member became leader of the upper house. During a large part of his tenure, Pranab Mukherjee occupied the seat number 1 and sat on the left side of Manmohan Singh in the Lok Sabha.
Currently, Prime Minister Modi is the leader of the Lok Sabha as he represents Varanasi in the lower house. Rajnath Singh, the second most senior minister cabinet sits on his right-hand side.
In 2019, due to health conditions, Mr Jaitley moved aside and Thawarchand Gehlot was made the leader of House, one of the most noticeable faces of the BJP for the Schedule Castes.
Thus, apart from the known contenders, the party leadership may weigh in other social and political considerations to nominate Gehlot’s successor.
This government has a penchant for springing surprises.