Smriti Irani, RS Prasad get front-row upgrade in new Lok Sabha seating plan

Union minister Smriti Irani has been allotted a seat in the coveted front row of Lok Sabha, signifying her added importance in the scheme of things for the Narendra Modi government.

Irani is a first-time Lok Sabha MP who defeated Rahul Gandhi from his family bastion of Amethi. She was also a minister since 2014 in the first Modi government.

Apart from Prime minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Rajnath Singh, home minister Amit Shah, transport minister Nitin Gadkari, rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar, HD Sadananda Gowda will also occupy the front row.

Along with Irani, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has also been given a front row seat.

The coveted front row of the Indian Parliament’s Lok Sabha has seen the biggest reshuffle of the recent times in this summer as six senior parliamentarians who were front benchers have not returned to the House.

The NDA’s share in the front row pie, the seats closest to the Speaker’s chair, has also increased marginally. The Congress’ quota is stuck at 2 as the party bagged 51 seats, just 6 more than its earlier tally.

Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, Congress’ floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge and BJP patriarchs LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi are among the leaders who used to sit in the front row. This time, many of them have retired while Deve Gowda lost the election..