The new seating plan in the Lok Sabha reflects the evolving dynamics in the treasury benches. Two key faces of the Union government, home minister Amit Shah and textiles minister Smriti Irani who defeated Rahul Gandhi of the Congress in the general elections, have got prestigious front-row seats as has law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
All the three are first time Lok Sabha members. In the earlier tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, Prasad and Shah had front row seats in the Rajya Sabha. Irani, who like Prasad was a minister in the earlier NDA government, was also a Rajya Sabha member.
The new division numbers, which are the same as seat numbers, was released by the Lok Sabha secretariat in a circular on Tuesday. The seating arrangement has been cleared by speaker Om Birla.
Also joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the front row will be senior BJP ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Sadanand Gowda, Narendra Singh Tomar and Arjun Munda. Among NDA allies, Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena has a front-row seat.
In the Opposition benches, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi continues to have a front-row seat while Rahul Gandhi, who resigned as Congress president in May, has retained a seat in the second row.
The leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has a front-row seat, according to norms, along with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader T.R. Baalu, Samjawadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.