Is Ruling-BJD Planning Vidhan Parishad Just To Rehabilitate Party Leaders?

If Parliament approves Vidhan Parishad, the Odisha Legislative Council will have around 49 members- 1/3rd of the 147 members in the State Assembly.

Bhubaneswar: Amid protests from the Opposition, the ruling-BJD is now eyeing to get Parliament’s nod for the formation of Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad in Odisha. A resolution to set up Vidhan Parishad was passed in the Odisha Assembly in September last year in absence of opposition party members including from the BJP and Congress.

While leaders of the major opposition parties in Odisha alleged that the ruling-BJD wants Vidhan Parishad in the State only to rehabilitate its party leaders who either failed to get ticket or lost during the recently concluded 2019 polls, questions are now raised as to why the State government delayed the Council formation even though it had constituted a committee to observe functioning of Legislative Councils.

Senior BJP leader and Bargarh MP Suresh Pujari said that the saffron party is ready to support the BJD in the interest of the State; however, if the intention of the ruling-BJD behind Vidhan Parishad is ‘rehabilitation’ of its leaders, it’s not a good sign for democracy.

Responding to the allegations, BJD MP Mahesh Sahu said that Odisha needs formation of the Legislative Council. “Was the Vidhan Parishad in Uttar Pradesh formed for political benefits? A state needs a Council and hence, we want it for Odisha too,” he said.

However, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said that the formation of the Parishad depends on the BJP government at the Centre. If the BJP wants to pass the Bill, it can as the party (BJP) is terming a bill Money Bill or Ordinary Bill as per its choice,” alleged Mishra.

It is also believed that the BJP lacks majority in the Rajya Sabha and hence, it may need BJD’s support in passing several Bills in the Upper House. Taking its advantage, the BJD may demand the saffron party’s support for Vidhan Parishad in return, believe political experts.

It is pertinent to mention here that several heavyweights of BJD including Kalikesh Singh Deo, Sanjay Das Burna, Puspendra Singh Deo and Maheswar Mohanty tasted defeat in the 2019 elections while around 45 sitting MLAs were denied party tickets.

The BJD wants to pacify the brewing resentment among the party leaders by rehabilitating the disgruntled lot by setting up the Vidhan Parishad. It had also promised several leaders of rehabilitation. Hence, the ruling-BJD will its best to get the Bill passed in the Parliament, said political expert, Prasanna Mohanty.

If approved, the Odisha Legislative Council is expected to have 49 members, 1/3rd of the 147 members in the State Assembly.