New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah on Friday made his parliamentary debut, occupying a front row seat in the Rajya Sabha on the opening day of the winter session.
Shah, 53, who was elected to the Upper House of Parliament in August, walked in just minutes before the proceedings began.
Members of the treasury benches, including several ministers, stood up to welcome him. Some thumped desks and others clapped as a smiling Shah greeted them with folded hands.
He then went straight to his assigned seat in the front row.
Shah has been allocated the aisle seat right next to the two-seat block were Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit.
Rajya Sabha members sit in a semi-circle, facing the Chair. The semi-circle is divided into six blocks of seats separated by aisles.
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The ruling side is seated on the one side of the semi- circle and the principal opposition party, Congress on the other. Other parties including allies of the ruling party or those in the opposition occupy the middle blocks.
Jaitley and Modi have seats in the front row of the first block. Shah has been allotted the seat in the next block where he has the company of Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan and Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.
When Shah walked in ministers including Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, HRD Minister Prakash Javedkar and I&B Minister Smriti Irani thumped and clapped to welcome him.
After he was seated, some members walked up to him to greet him.
The seat allotted to Shah was previously occupied by M Venkaiah Naidu, who after being elected Vice President in August is now the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
The front row seats in the block next of his has AIADMK and TMC leaders.
The seats in the next block used to be occupied by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and BSPs Mayawati till the last session.
However, with the CPI(M) deciding against giving Yechury a third term, his seat is now occupied by his fellow-comrade T K Rangarajan.
While JD-U members have moved near treasury benches since Nitish Kumar broke ranks with Lalu Prasads RJD and joined the NDA, its rebel leader Sharad Yadav has been disqualified.
The BSP supremo quit the Rajya Sabha in July, complaining that her voice was being muzzled. After her resignation, her seat has been given her confidante and BSP leader Satish Mishra.