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Utkal Sammilani demands formation of a Legislative Council in Odisha !

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 9:

Even as the ruling Biju Janata Dal is seriously deliberating on the possibilities of creating a legislative council in the state to rehabilitate senior party leaders who are likely to bite dust in the polls, the Utkal Sammilani Central Committee (USCC) today demanded that an Odisha Legislative Council be set up in the state with a view to providing an opportunity to people from various fields to be a part of the decision-making process in the state.

The USCC also urged the state government to bring a constitutional amendment bill in this regard after the formation of the new Assembly.

They have appealed to the State government, leaders of various political parties to join hands to ensure the formation of the State Legislative Council.

Committee General Secretary Dr Radhanath Praharaj said, “Under article 168 of the Indian Constitution every State can have its own legislative council… State having more than 140 MLAs is eligible to form a council whose members will be nominated to the Upper House by the President”. While a small State like Jammu and Kashmir has its Legislative Council, Odisha is yet to have its own, said Praharaj.

Praharaj further said many bills get passed in Rajya Sabha without any discussion. Thus, the formation of the legislative council aims at involving larger section of people’s representative in discussions before passing of any bill in the Upper House.

He lamented that the President of India has not yet appointed a single member from Odisha to the Rajya Sabha since the formation of Odisha (1936) which is highly regretful.

Notably, the Odisha Legislative Council will consist of 49 members, which is one/third of the 147-member State Assembly. Besides political representatives, the council will comprise members from different fields such as scientists, educationalists, lawyers, artists, journalists and retired officials.

While the Governor will nominate 16 members from various fields, 16 others will be elected by local bodies like Municipal Corporation and NAC, four members by teachers and graduates of different colleges or universities and the rest will be elected by MLAs.