Union minister Piyush Goyal, who is currently the deputy floor leader for Rajya Sabha, will be the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha for the Bharatiya Janata Party. The post has been vacant since the resignation of senior leader Thawarchand Gehlot who is now the governor of Karnataka.
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. Goyal, 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 -Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution and Textiles.
Earlier, he has served as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy between 2014 and 2017, and Mines during 2016-2017.
Goyal has previously held the position of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (2010-14) and the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Defence (2012-14), while he was the member of the Rajya Sabha. Within his party, Goyal has played a key role at the central level in all elections since 2004.
Before Goyal was decided upon as the Leader of the House, the other name doing the rounds was 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 that figured was 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, was also in the race.
According to government sources, the Parliamentary affairs minister will submit the name to the Rajya Sabha chairman for his approval ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, which will begin on July 19.
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.