NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be joined by his cabinet colleagues Amit Shah, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Smriti Irani- all three first time Lok Sabha members- in the front row of the lower house, with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav retaining their front seats meant for opposition leaders.
While Home Minister Shah and Law Minister Prasad had front row seats in Rajya Sabha before the general elections, it is for the first time Irani will have a front row seat in Parliament.
The Women and Child Development minister, who was in Rajya Sabha before she defeated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, did not have front seat in the upper house.
Rahul Gandhi retains his seat in the second row in lower house in the seat allocation by Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday.
Union ministers –Nitin Gadkari, Sadanand Gowda, Narendra Singh Tomar, Arjun Munda and Arvind Sawant– have also got seats in the first row.
From the opposition parties, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and DMK leader T R Baalu were also allocated seats in the front row.
Among the bigger parties, leaders of JD(U), Trinamool Congress and YSR CP have also got front seats.
The prime minister has a reserved corner seat to the right of the Speaker. Rajnath Singh, considered the senior most minister in the cabinet, will retain his seat adjacent to Modi.
Senior BJP leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj had front row seats in the previous Lok Sabha but they will be missing this time as none of them contested the elections.
Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda will also be missing from the front row as he lost his Lok Sabha seat in the elections.
One seat in the front row has been kept vacant for the deputy speaker, who is yet to be elected.
Source: Press Trust of India