After coming back to power for a second term, the BJP on Wednesday announced its parliamentary party executive committee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been appointed as its leader in the Lok Sabha with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as deputy.
The saffron party also announced the appointment of Union Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, a veteran Dalit face of the BJP, as the leader in Rajya Sabha with minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal as deputy.
Gehlot replaced senior BJP leader and former Union minister Arun Jaitley as leader of the house in Rajya Sabha. Jaitley had requested the leadership to relieve him from key positions in view of his poor health.
Union minister Smriti Irani’s induction as a special invitee in the BJP’s parliamentary party executive committee underscores elevation in her stature within the party after she defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi from the Amethi parliamentary constituency.
The party has appointed Sanjay Jaiswal as its chief whip. It also appointed for the first time three women MPs as its whips for women parliamentarians.
Besides these three women whips, 15 other whips for Lok Sabha have also been appointed for parliamentarians from different states. In Lok Sabha, the BJP’s strength has increased to 303.
Other special invitees from Lok Sabha to the BJP’s parliamentary party executive are Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Arjun Munda, Narendra Singh Tomar and Jual Oram.
The BJP has also appointed six whips for the upper house, where it is the single largest party with 70 members.
Special invitees to the committee from Rajya Sabha are J P Nadda, Om Prakash Mathur, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmedndra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has been reappointed as in-charge of the party’s parliamentary office and Balasubrahmanyam Kumarsu as secretary.
The newly constituted BJP parliamentary party executive committee marks a generational shift in the party as party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, who have been its members for a long time, are not part of it, as both are not MPs.
Besides them, senior leaders Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj are also not its members.
The first meeting of the executive will be held on June 16 at 3:30 pm, a day before the commencement of Parliament session. The government has also called an all-party meeting in the morning of June 16 which will be chaired by the prime minister.
With Inputs From PTI