Bhubaneswar: With the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government preparing the ground for formation of a Legislative Council in Odisha, sources here claimed that there is an understanding between the Centre and the state for a quid pro quo.
The state Cabinet had given its nod for creation of the Council while a resolution in this regard was accepted in the state Assembly September 6 last year.
The state government has sent the Assembly resolution to the Centre. The BJD government in Odisha can create a Legislative Council only when a Bill in this regard is passed in both Houses of the Parliament and accorded with the Presidential assent.
Grapevines have it that there is an understanding between the BJD and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the Legislative Council. Political observers opine that the BJP-led government at the Centre may pull out all the stops for smooth passage of the Bill in lieu of a few Rajya Sabha berths from Odisha.
Since BJP does not have majority in Rajya Sabha and it has to depend on some small parties to pass some crucial Bills in the Upper House, the saffron party is eager to raise its number in RS.
On the other hand, the BJD leadership is keen to create a Legislative Council in Odisha. The regional party has formed government in the state for the fifth time in a row. It has rehabilitated some of its leaders in various corporations and departments. These leaders have been appointed as chairpersons of various corporations and advisors to various departments.
However, the regional party is yet to rehabilitate some other leaders who have been either denied tickets to contest the 2019 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections or tasted defeat in the polls.
BJD leaders like Pushpendra Singh Deo, Maheswar Mohanty, Sanjay Kumar Das Burma, Rabi Nanda, Rabindra Jena, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, Debashish Samantaray, Nalini Pradhan, Jiban Pradip Das, Lal Bihari Himirika, Prabhas Singh, Jhina Hikaka, Sananda Marndi, Kishore Tarai and Sipra Mallick are yet to be rehabilitated. So, a Legislative Council in the state would help the BJD rehabilitate a few more leaders, observed some political experts.
It is worth mentioning here that four RS seats from Odisha will be vacant in April next year. The terms of Rajya Sabha MPs Ranjib Biswal, Narendra Kumar Swain and Sarojini Hembram would end in 2020. On the other hand, RS member Anubhav Mohanty has vacated his seat after winning the Kendrapara LS seat on a BJD ticket.
With its present strength in the Assembly, the BJD is certain to elect three of its candidates to the Upper House. There is also possibility that the regional party will win the fourth Rajya Sabha seat, said a few observers.
Though BJP has 23 MLAs in Odisha Assembly, the party still lacks the magic number to win a RS seat on its own.
Sources claimed that the BJD may help the BJP to win two Rajya Sabha seats from state in 2020 and in lieu of this the saffron party will take the responsibility to pass a Bill in the Parliament with regard to formation of Odisha Legislative Council.
According to sources, the BJD is in favour of introducing the Bill in upcoming winter session of the Parliament.
Notably, the regional party had helped BJP candidate Aswini Kumar Vaishnaw to win the RS seat from Odisha a couple of months ago even though it had the required number in the Assembly to win all three vacant seats from the state in the Upper House.
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