With 4 MLCs elected to assembly, Bihar Upper House has 17 vacancies to fill
Four more seats in the 75-member Bihar legislative council have fallen vacant after the assembly elections, taking its total number of vacancies to 17.
The vacancies arose following the election of BJP’s Vinod Narayan Jha, JD(U)’s Dilip Rai and Manoj Yadav and RJD’s Reetlal Yadav to the assembly. Earlier, council member Sunil Kumar died due to Covid-19 in July. As far as the remaining 12 vacant seats are concerned, nomination to them has remained stuck for a long time for want of an understanding among the NDA constituents.
These 12 seats are the ones nominated through the Governor’s quota on the state government’s recommendation. Ten members -- all from the JD(U) -- completed their term in May 2019 and the seats have remained vacant since. Also, the term of two ministers in the previous Nitish Kumar Cabinet ended just four days before the announcement of election results, as their membership ended on May 6, 2020, and they could not continue as minister for more than six months without getting re-elected. The ministers were Dr Ashok Choudhary and Neeraj Kumar.
In the new Cabinet also, two ministers -- JD(U) working president Dr Ashok Choudhary and Mukesh Sahni of the Vikashsheel Inshaan Party (VIP) -- are members of neither of the Houses.
Bihar is one of the only seven states in the country to have a bi-cameral legislature with both Lower House (assembly) and Upper House (council).
The council has 12 seats of teachers’ and graduates’ constituencies each of which eight were vacant which were filled earlier this month through election. Four seats went to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), two to the Left parties and one each to the Congress and an independent candidate.
“After the assembly session, the government may try to fill the vacancies at the earliest. As far as election is concerned, three of the four seats are of urban local bodies, while less than six months of late Sunil Kumar’s tenure remain,” said council chairman Avadhesh Narayan Singh.
“As a result, the election will only be held for the seat of Vinod Narayan Jha who was elected unopposed to the council from the Vidhan Sabha quota in 2016. The urban local bodies’ elections will be held as per schedule,” he added. Twenty four seats are filled through election from the urban local bodies.
At present, JD(U) remains the biggest party in the council with 21 seats, followed by the BJP (18). However, the composition may change if all the vacancies are filled.