After 9-years, Rajasthan govt again pushes for a legislative council

The Rajasthan government has decided to ask the Central government to constitute a legislative council, a move, which the opposition leaders and experts see as aimed to control dissent in the ruling party
After 9-years, Rajasthan govt again pushes for a legislative council
After 9-years, Rajasthan govt again pushes for a legislative council
Published on Jul 08, 2021 07:25 PM IST
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The Rajasthan government has decided to ask the Central government to constitute a legislative council, a move, which the opposition leaders and experts see as aimed to control dissent in the ruling party.

According to a government statement, a proposal to constitute the legislative assembly will be sent to Parliament after getting a nod of the state assembly.

Amid talks of the cabinet reshuffle on cards, the state’s decision to push for legislative council has surprised many. If the Centre approves its constitution then the cabinet’s size will increase - 15% of the total members of the state assembly and council.

Earlier also, such a proposal was sent to the Centre twice – in 2008 by Vasundhara Raje and in 2012 by Ashok Gehlot when the UPA was in power at the Centre. The Union Ministry of Law and Justice had sought the opinion of the state government regarding the suggestions of the Standing Committee of Parliament on the proposal to constitute the Legislative Council, which was passed in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on 18 April 2012.

After nine years, the state government is submitting its opinion, according to a government official.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan took the decision on legislative council two days after the West Bengal passed a resolution supporting an ad hoc committee report that favoured the creation of a legislative council amid opposition by the BJP.

West Bengal Legislative Council was set up in 1952 and abolished in 1969.

Currently, there are only six states in India that have Legislative Councils. They are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

Jammu and Kashmir also had the Upper House until the state was bifurcated into two Union territories in 2019.

According to the Constitution, any legislative council of a state cannot have more than one-third of members of the state assembly or less than 40. The council cannot be dissolved and its member’s tenure is of six years.

Commenting on the constitution of the council, state Congress president Govind Singh Dotasara said, “The proposal for constituting legislative council has been passed by the cabinet unanimously as Narendra Modi government was continuously delaying it, and a letter was sent again asking whether you want it or not. A unanimous decision has been taken by the cabinet and we want that people and workers should get an opportunity, as this decision was taken unanimously by the previous Gehlot government but BJP government was delaying it.”

“I want to urge all BJP leaders, they have their party government led by Modi in the Centre and can get the decision swiftly on this,” he said

Deputy leader of Opposition, Rajendra Rathore said after nine years the state government is replying to the letter – it is clearly a move to suppress growing resentment in the Congress party. “The state is not in a healthy financial state due to the pandemic and the ruling government, just to pacify and please their leaders, is making such political stunts. When the BJP government moved such proposal in 2008, the state finance was healthy,” he said.

Rathore continued by saying that the move of the Congress government is a ‘lollypop’ to leaders – giving hope of accommodating more, those who are sidelined and even the sitting MLAs, who if lose, can be brought back through council. “The government is constantly being cornered by party MLAs and leaders over the demand of cabinet reshuffle and political appointment. Such circumstances are proving to be challenging for the party as it is difficult to satisfy them,” he said.

Political analyst Manish Godha said, “It looks like a message from the chief minister that I am trying to accommodate all. Even the Congressmen know that it is not possible, and mere a political gimmick.”

He said this is a political move as in the last 40 years approval has not been given to constitute legislative council to any state. Besides, the constitution of the council requires a two-thirds majority of the parliament, and such approval doesn’t seem to be easy for a Congress-ruled state.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sachin Saini is Special Correspondent for Rajasthan. He covers politics, tourism, forest, home, panchayati raj and rural development, and development journalism.

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