Piyush Goyal, who recently took charge of textile ministry, has been declared as the leader of the house in Rajya Sabha by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, Goyal’s new role leaves the position of the deputy leader vacant, which was earlier occupied by him.
The post of deputy leader is the one that has been created and is not conventionally a constitutional post. There are a few names that are doing the rounds for this post. It includes ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Bhupendra Yadav.
Naqvi continues to be the minority affairs minister and has had pretty much that portfolio since Modi came into power in 2014. In addition, he was also MoS Parliamentary affairs in Modi regime 1.0.
Dharmendra Pradhan has been one of the most effective managers for the saffron party in the Upper House. His contacts with his home state Odisha, specially helping in coordinating with the Biju Janata Dal on various bills and legislation has been noticed more than once.
But the frontrunner for this post undoubtedly is Bhupender Yadav. A lawyer by profession, Yadav was recently inducted in the Modi Cabinet as the minister for labour and environment.
Yadav has chaired quite a few committees set up for scrutiny of bills and till the recent, before he took charge, he was also heading the standing committee for law.
Many of his colleagues refer him as the “rule book" as the Rajya Sabha MP is very well versed with Parliamentary procedures, especially the rules of the House and is often seen quoting them on the floor when the occasion demands.
A soft-spoken Yadav, who makes strong points during debates, shares a good equation across the opposition benches too. This actually holds him in good place for this post.
The saffron party, which has an overwhelming majority in Lok Sabha, has often had to negotiate to bring fence hitter parties like Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress and TRS on board on crucial bills.
BJP does not enjoy a majority in the House of the elders and that remains their biggest concern because a number of legislations have been blocked by a strong opposition in the Upper House.
Often the prime minister is known to have thrown in surprises so it shall be important to see if we have one coming our way this time around. The decision to finalise the post of the deputy leader will be done ahead of the start of the monsoon session.