JP Nadda replaces Piyush Goyal as leader of Upper House

Nadda’s term as the BJP chief is set to end this June-end. In the NDA-3 government’s Council of Ministers, there are 11 RS members besides Nadda.
BJP president JP Nadda
BJP president JP Nadda (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: BJP chief JP Nadda, the new Union Health Minister, has yet another task assigned to him. The party has named him the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, replacing party colleague Piyush Goyal who has been elected to the Lok Sabha.

Official sources said Nadda will be the leader of the House during the Rajya Sabha session that will start from June 27 as part of the first session of Parliament after the elections for the 18th Lok Sabha.

Nadda’s term as the BJP chief is set to end this June-end. In the NDA-3 government’s Council of Ministers, there are 11 RS members besides Nadda.

Congress’ Jairam Ramesh greeted Nadda upon his nomination as the House leader. In an X post, he said, “Greetings to JP Nadda ji on his being nominated as the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha. As Venkaiah Naidu said if the leader of the House can accommodate, the Opposition can cooperate.”

However, Nadda appeared disinterested. In a hard-hitting four-page letter to Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Nadda on Monday slammed the Congress for maintaining “stoic silence” on the deaths of 50 people in a hooch tragedy in the DMK-ruled Tamil Nadu. The DMK is an ally of the Congress in the INDIA bloc. The letter came amid a national outrage against irregularities in the NEET-UG exam results.

The BJP chief described the tragedy as a “man-made disaster” and attributed the high number of casualties to an alleged nexus between the ruling DMK-INDIA bloc and the liquor mafia. The tragedy took place in Karunapuram village, Kallakurichi, which is dominated by the Scheduled Caste population.

Nadda asked Kharge to exert pressure on the state government to order a CBI probe and demanded the removal of state Prohibition and Excise Minister S Muthusamy. In the letter, Nadda also called for enhancing the compensation for the victims’ families.

Nadda also sought to highlight the contrast between Rahul Gandhi’s advocacy for social justice and the party’s perceived indifference to the plight of the SC/ST community in Tamil Nadu. He said Rahul and other Congress leaders should act decisively rather than keep “stoic selective silence”.

Nadda also challenged the integrity of the INDIA bloc, alleging its partners’ “propensity” towards involvement in illegal liquor activities. He called for purging such elements from the alliance, citing Mahatma Gandhi’s staunch opposition to alcohol consumption.

“Kharge ji, certain issues require us to rise above party lines for the welfare and safety of the SC, ST community,” he wrote, asking Kharge to walk the talk for bringing justice to the SC/ST communities.

“As you know, Karunapuram is largely populated by the Scheduled Castes, who face several challenges due to poverty and discrimination in Tamil Nadu,” Nadda wrote.

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