The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday constituted its parliamentary party executive committee, appointing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the leader in the Lok Sabha. It also appointed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as the deputy leader.

Modi was the leader in the 16th Lok Sabha between 2014 and 2019 too.

Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot will be the leader in the Rajya Sabha, and Minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal his deputy, the BJP said. The governing party appoints the leader of the Rajya Sabha.

Gehlot, a prominent Dalit face of the BJP, will replace former Union minister Arun Jaitley who opted out of the Council of Ministers citing health reasons.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who had defeated Congress President Rahul Gandhi from Amethi constituency in the Lok Sabha elections, was inducted as a special invitee to the committee from the Lok Sabha. Others who were appointed special invitees are Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Arjun Munda, Narendra Singh Tomar and Jual Oram. Special invitees from the Rajya Sabha include JP Nadda, Om Prakash Mathur, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar.

The party has appointed Sanjay Jaiswal as its chief whip. It also appointed for the first time three women MPs as its whips for women parliamentarians. The party appointed 15 whips for the Lower House, while six whips for the Upper House.

BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has been appointed once again as in-charge of the party’s parliamentary office and Balasubrahmanyam Kumarsu as secretary.

The Congress is yet to name its leaders in the two houses of Parliament.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, the first after the Lok Sabha elections, will begin on June 17, and the Union Budget will be presented on July 5. The first meeting of the BJP executive committee will be held on June 16 at 3:30 pm, PTI reported.