NEW DELHI: Who is 'Number two' in the Narendra Modi Government? The question remained unanswered even today as none of the top leaders formally presided over the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting here, in the absence of the Prime Minister.
A day before leaving for the BRICS summit held in Brazil, Modi was elected as the leader of BJP Parliamentary Party on July 12, while Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley were designated deputy leaders of the party in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, respectively.
During the meeting today, both Rajnath and Jaitley were present on the dais, along with party's veteran leader L K Advani and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, but nobody formally presided over it in the absence of Modi.
When asked who out of the four leaders presided over the meeting, Naidu, who conducted the meeting, said, "No one presided over it.
"There is no vacancy. A Prime Minister is Prime Minister whether he is here or abroad," he told reporters on speculation over who is 'Number two' in the government in Modi's absence.
In the meeting, Jaitley listed out salient points of the Union Budget to party members.
Speculations on who is 'Number two' in Narendra Modi government is already on in political and bureaucratic circles.
While Jaitley is considered as the one closest to Modi, Rajnath, who was party national president till recently has catapulted to a slot that makes him sit next to the Prime Minister.
While Jaitley has key departments of Finance and Defence under him, Rajnath has only Home.
Rajnath was also the first to take oath after Narendra Modi on May 26, he is also the lone member of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) comprises of him and Modi.
Rajnath is also on all the six new Cabinet committees, his name appearing after Modi in five of these groups. He heads the sixth, which is the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
The party has also convened a meeting of the 'Kamal Sakhi Manch' comprising of wives of all party MPs at Parliament Annexe on July 22.