Friday, May 28, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, MAY 27 . The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, today nominated the Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, as the leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, conveyed the Prime Minister's decision to the outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker, Manohar Joshi.
In his letter to Mr. Joshi, Mr Azad said: "The Prime Minister has directed me to inform you that he has nominated Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of Defence as the Leader of the House". The move to nominate Mr. Mukherjee as the Leader of the House has been necessitated by the fact that the Prime Minister is not a member of the Lower House. According to the rules of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the House has to be an elected member of the House.
Normally it is the Prime Minister who is the Leader of the Lok Sabha. This however is not the first time that somebody other than the Prime Minister has become the Leader of the House. The senior Congressman, Arjun Singh, had served as the Leader of the House during the first few months of the P.V. Narasimha Rao Government. He took over from Mr. Singh after his election to the Lok Sabha in a by-election.
Though Mr. Mukherjee has been a member of the Rajya Sabha for over three decades, this is the first time that he has been elected to the Lok Sabha.
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