17 Bihar Legislative Council Seats Vacant As Members Retire Amid Lockdown

Besides the strength of the House has now reduced by over 20% after tenures of 17 out of its 75 members, including the acting chairperson, expired.

17 Bihar Legislative Council Seats Vacant As Members Retire Amid Lockdown

Bihar Legislative Council has 75 seats, of which 17 have fallen vacant

Patna:

Bihar, which is a bicameral legislature, has lost the chair of the Upper House after Deputy Chairman Haroon Rashid, who is also the acting Chairman, retired on Wednesday.

Besides the strength of the House has now reduced by over 20 per cent after tenures of 17 out of its 75 members, including the acting chairperson, expired.

Among those whose six-year-terms expired on Wednesday are Minister for Building Construction Ashok Choudhary and Minister for Information and Public Relations Department Neeraj Kumar.

Other prominent leaders whose tenures have ended include state Congress president Madan Mohan Jha, and Sanjay Kumar Singh and Kedar Nath Pandey of the CPI, which has no representation in the lower house and now suffers a similar fate in the legislative council.

Among the 17 MLCs, nine had been elected from the Vidhan Sabha constituency, while four each were from the Graduates' and Teachers' constituencies.

The Election Commission is yet to take a call on the polls amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

"Till date, we have received no communication from the commission with regards to holding legislative council elections," Chief Electoral Officer HN Srinivas told PTI on Thursday.

The ministers can, nonetheless, continue to hold their cabinet berths for a period of six months without being a member of either House.

Such a situation in the legislative council has only a couple of precedents in the 1980s, in the more than 100-year-old history of the Vidhan Parishad, according to veterans.

Deputy Chairman Haroon Rashid was asked to officiate as the chairman upon the expiry of the term of BJP leader Awadhesh Narain Singh.

Sources in the state government, however, said that for convening of the next session, the governor may nominate any of the sitting members upon the government's recommendation as the acting chairman.

No such recommendation has been made by the state government so far and sources asserted the situation does not require any haste.

The monsoon session is unlikely to be held any time soon. And by that time, the needful will most likely have been done.

Notably, all nine members from the Vidhan Sabha constituency were from the ruling NDA.

Six, including Haroon Rashid and the two ministers, are from the JD(U), which is headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is himself a member of the legislative council. Three belong to the BJP, his alliance partner.

The state Congress Chief and the two CPI leaders were all from the Teachers' constituencies.