Lok Sabha reshuffles MPs’ seating plan

New Delhi: More than 12%, or 66, Lok Sabha MPs have been allotted new seats in the latest reshuffle of the sitting arrangement in the Lower House of Parliament.

A total of 35 ministers have been got new seats while some former ministers have had to settle for later rows in the chamber. A circular allotting the new seats was issued on December 9. It shows that the seats of a number of younger MPs and ministers have been upgraded.

Cabinet ministers such as Smriti Irani, Kiren Rijiju, RK Singh, Arjun Munda, Anurag Thakur, Virendra Kumar and Pashupati Kumar Paras are among those who have been allotted new seats. The division (voting) number of an MP is considered the number of his or her seat.

The Lok Sabha is arranged in a semi circle with six blocks of seats. Each block has 11 rows, and is numbered from front to back. The first block has 97 numbered seats; the second 87; the third, fourth, and fifth, 89 each; and the sixth, 97 again. The total capacity is 550.

The BJP occupies four of these blocks.

There are 20 front row seats in the house: six in the first block, and two each in the second, third, fourth, and fifth, and six blocks. It is important to understand the numbering with respect to the blocks. This 1-6 are the front row seats in the first block; 98 and 99 in the second; 187 and 188 in the third; and so on.

The numbering in the rows behind follows sequentially, with the number of seats usually increasing in an arithmetic progression.

Irani, who already sits in the coveted front row, has moved from seat number 188 (Block 3) to 99 (Block2). Block 1 is where the PM and his senior most colleagues sit in the first row. For instance, defence minister Rajnath Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah sit in the first row of the first block. Tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda will sit next to Irani, shifting from seat number 187.

Minister of state for Home G Kishan Reddy, MSME minister Bhanu Pratap Verma, SP Singh Baghel (law and justice), Shobha Karandlaje (agriculture), BJP ally Anupriya Patel )MoS Commerce and industry), MoS social justice Pratima Bhoumik, MoS education Annapurna Devi and MoS Health Bharati Praveen Pawar are among those whose seats have been upgraded. Pawar has been upgraded to seat number 33 in the fifth row of the first block, moving up from seventh row in the third bloc. Similarly, Minister of state for urban development Kaushal Kishore has moved to seat 34 from 293.

Former health minister Harsh Vardhan has moved to seat number 104 (third row of the second block) from seat number 9 which was right behind PM Narendra Modi’s seat. Similarly, former labour minister Santosh Gangwar has moved to seat number 112 in the fourth row of the second block instead of 12 in the second row of the first block. Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad, too, will now sit in later rows.

In the new reshuffle, two MPs who have been associated with rival parties have been allotted new seats. Trinamool Congress MP Shishir Adhikary, who is facing suspension notice for his relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party (he is BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s father), has been taken away from the TMC zone to seat number 439. Another West Bengal MP, BJP’s Arjun Singh, who has announced his proximity with the TMC, finds new seat, 361 away from the BJP benches.

In the Rajya Sabha, too, the seating arrangement has been changed post-Covid. According to a functionary who asked not to be named, the places have been finalised and will be announced shortly.

“Earlier, because of Covid protocols, ministers and members were sitting with a certain minimum distance between them. Some of the MPs were also being made to sit in the galleries meant for visitors. Now that the House has resumed its old sitting system, there will be some changes visible,” the functionary added.

In the Rajya Sabha, some of the older MPs are expected to get seats in the rows closer to the chair. “Since many MPs retired in the previous session, the newer MPs will also be allocated seats, which will result in some sort of a reshuffle,” the functionary said.