Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party were on Friday lobbying hard with Ms. Sushma Swaraj, the newly anointed Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, for several positions that are lying vacant.
After Mr. Jaswant Singh resigned as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the most prestigious parliamentary committee, several senior MPs have made it known they would like to be considered for the position. With Ms. Swaraj’s elevation, the position of chairman of the standing committee attached to the Ministry of External Affairs that was held by her is also vacant.
In the parliamentary party, all positions are to be filled afresh, including the positions of Deputy Leaders of Opposition in the two Houses, till now occupied by Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha and S.S. Ahluwalia in the Rajya Sabha.
For the deputy’s post in the Lok Sabha, the buzz is around the names of Ananth Kumar and Gopinath Munde. With the party becoming “Brahmin-heavy”— Mr. Jaitley and Ms. Swaraj and the next party chief, Nitin Gadkari, are Brahmins. On that score Mr. Kumar, also a Brahmin, is likely to lose out to Mr. Munde with his backward caste credentials.
On Saturday, the BJP Parliamentary Board is expected to announce its “choice”— Nitin Gadkari — for the position of next party chief at the end of tenure of Rajnath Singh. He will take charge by mid-January or February and set up his own team of office-bearers, for which hectic lobbying has begun.