Former deputy speaker Rajendra Singh, who was the chairman of the Congress manifesto committee in 2018, said the party has discussed the issue and is serious about constituting a 76-member second House.
In keeping with its pre-poll promise, the Congress is working on a resolution — that will be presented in the next Assembly session — to form a Legislative Council in Madhya Pradesh.
Former deputy speaker Rajendra Singh, who was the chairman of the Congress manifesto committee in 2018, said the party has discussed the issue and is serious about constituting a 76-member second House. He said an effort will be made to get the resolution passed unanimously in the Assembly and sent to the Centre.
The proposed Council cannot have more than 76 members because the Constitution stipulates that “the total number of members in the Legislative Council shall not exceed one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly”. MP Assembly has 230 members.
A senior bureaucrat in the parliamentary affairs department said the proposal is under consideration but it would be too early to give a timeline. “The proposal has a huge financial implication and it will require clearance from the finance department,” he said.
A proposal had been sent to the Centre in the 1960s after the MP Assembly passed a resolution but it was never pursued. Unlike the BJP, the Congress in recent decades has promised a Council while the party was in government and Opposition, but it has not seen the light of the day.
The Congress, which returned to power after 15 years, is serious this time because the Council will allow it to accommodate some senior workers and leaders and revive the party organisation in several areas, especially in reserved Assembly constituencies. Out of 230 constituencies, 47 are reserved for STs and 35 for SCs.
A senior Congress leader admitted that the second House will open avenues to accommodate people who can’t get elected for various reasons. “The second House may not serve much purpose but it all boils down to accommodating some persons,” he said, admitting that one House was sufficient to meet all requirements.
The BJP has not taken any position on the issue so far. Senior leaders said they will wait for the proposal to come up before making the party’s stand clear. A national-level BJP leader said the party was unlikely to support such a proposal. He said the BJP will have to take a stand when the proposal is brought in the Assembly because it will have to be passed by two-thirds of those present and voting.
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