Bhubaneswar: The state Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday decided to bring a resolution on the floor of the Assembly for formation of a Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) in the state.
Briefing media persons about the decision, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Aarukha said the Cabinet had decided to form the Council to provide better governance. “As per the recommendation of the special committee formed in January 2015 to study the functioning of Vidhan Parishads in various states, the Cabinet has decided to form the Council in the state to provide better governance,” he said.
The special committee led by Transport Minister Nrushingha Charan Sahu had submitted its report to the Chief Minister recommending formation of the Legislative Council in Odisha August 3 after visiting Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar and Telangana to study the functioning of the Legislative Councils in those states, Aarukha said.
According to Clause 1 under section 169 of the Indian Constitution, a resolution has to be passed in the Legislative Assembly for constitution of the Vidhan Parishad. To adhere to the provision of the Constitution, the state Cabinet approved passing of a resolution to this effect in state Assembly, he said. The resolution will be brought in the monsoon session of the Assembly beginning September 4 for formation of the Council, the minister said.
The proposed Legislative Council will have 49 members, he said adding that the state will have to spend Rs 35 crore annually for creation of the Vidhan Parishad. The members of the proposed council will get salary and allowance as given to the members of the Legislative Assembly.
As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the Legislative Council of a state shall not exceed one third of the total number of the members in the Legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the Legislative Council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.
As the total number of members in Odisha Assembly is 147, the total number of members in the Council will be 49, he said.
According to sources, 16 members will be elected by members of panchayat samitis, zilla parishads and urban local bodies (ULBs) while 16 others will be elected by the MLAs; four from government teachers, four from elected graduates and nine will be nominated by the Governor.
CONG, BJP OPPOSE
Meanwhile, Opposition Congress and BJP said the move was meant for rehabilitation of BJD leaders.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra said the BJD enjoyed absolute majority in the 147-member house with 118 MLAs. So, they can pass whatever resolution they bring. From the very beginning, Congress party has opined that there is no need for a Legislative Council in Odisha, he said.
Stating lots of people are criticising the move as it would be a rehabilitation centre, the Congress leader said, the matter should be seriously debated before going ahead with it.
Similarly, BJP legislator Pradeep Purohit said, “The state is reeling under a Rs 90,000-crore debt burden and there are no teachers and drinking water facility in the rural areas. It is not the appropriate time for a Vidhan Parishad. It is solely meant for rehabilitating BJD’s party leaders.”