Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday wrote to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, complaining that his seat in the House had been changed to humiliate him and deliberately hurt the party’s sentiments, NDTV reported.
The arrangement was changed after the Sena’s decision to withdraw its only minister from the Union Cabinet of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has accused the BJP of forcing it out of their alliance without any discussion. There has not been an official announcement yet on the party’s departure from the ruling coalition.
“I was astonished to know that my seating position in the Rajya Sabha chamber [has been] changed from the third to the fifth row,” Raut wrote in the letter to Naidu, who is the chairperson of the Upper House. “This decision was taken by someone deliberately to hurt Shiv Sena’s sentiments and suppress our voice.”
The parliamentarian pointed out that he has been a senior member of the House since 2004. “I also fail to understand the reason for this unwarranted step of reallocation of seats since there is no formal announcement about removal from the NDA,” Raut added.
The Shiv Sena leader said the decision had “affected the dignity of the House”. He urged the vice president to move him up to the first, second or third row, reported The Times of India. This would allow him to “raise the voice of distress of the poor people of Maharashtra effectively”, Raut added.
“I feel aggrieved because I strongly feel that the chairperson is above party affiliations and should take decisions in a non-partisan manner,” Raut said. “This, a message seems to have been sent by changing the seating position...that it is correlated with the tussle in government formation in Maharashtra.”
However, Raut is not the only one whose seat has been changed. The government has changed the seating arrangement of all of the Shiv Sena’s 18 Lok Sabha MPs. While Arvind Sawant, who was the Sena’s lone member of the Union Cabinet till he stepped down this month, has been moved from the first to the third row, the others have been assigned seats in the Opposition benches, according to NDTV.
“Shiv Sena has opted for new seating arrangement and they are trying to tie up with the Congress,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi. “Their minister has also resigned, so we are allotting them new seats as per the procedure.”