BJP President Amit Shah on Friday made his debut in the Rajya Sabha and was seated in the front row, right next to the seats reserved for the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister.
As soon as Shah entered the House a few minutes before the proceedings were to start, he was cheered by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members and ministers who clapped and thumped the desks.
Elected to the Rajya Sabha from his home state Gujarat in August, Shah was given the front seat in the second block of seats, earlier occupied by M. Venkaiah Naidu. Shah would keep company with ministers Ram Vilas Paswan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Thawar Chand Gehlot.
The members are given seats according to seniority with the most senior members getting the front aisle seats.
Several other Cabinet ministers are seated in the second and third row behind Shah.
Earlier, as Shah reached the Parliament House, he was greeted by many Union ministers and BJP MPs who presented him bouquets of flowers. Shah then made way to the Prime Minister’s office to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP party sources said that Shah’s presence would ensure the presence of most of the BJP members in the House.
In the monsoon session, the Modi government faced embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha as many BJP MPs were missing when a crucial bill seeking to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes came up for amendment. The government is keen to get the bill passed.