Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was on Monday appointed the Deputy Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.
Naqvi, 63, succeeds Piyush Goyal, who has been appointed as the Leader of House.
With the ruling BJP not having a majority in Rajya Sabha, Naqvi, along with Goyal, will be tasked with navigating various political challenges in the Upper House while delivering on the government’s legislative agenda.
“The prime minister has directed me to inform that Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister of Minority Affairs, has been appointed as the Deputy Leader of the Rajya Sabha,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said in a written communication to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
The minority affairs minister, a trusted organisation man of the BJP for decades, is a seasoned parliamentarian and had served as the minister of state for parliamentary affairs during the first term of the Modi government. He is the only Muslim face in the Cabinet.
He was also a member of the council of ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
The appointment of Naqvi, who is known for having cordial relations with leaders from across the political spectrum, comes at a time when the Opposition is raring to corner the ruling dispensation over a host of issues, including handling of the second wave of COVID-19, rising fuel prices and farmers’ stir.