Upper House: Oppn against ‘govt panel’

Bhubaneswar: The two main opposition parties, BJP and Congress, today raised their voice against the five-member committee formed by the State government to study the pros and cons of setting up of a legislative council in Odisha.

The government set up the committee last week with Nrushinga Sahu, Pramila Mallik, Manohar Randhari (all BJD), Bhujabal Majhi of Congress and Nitesh Gangdev of BJP as its members.

But first it was BJP which rejected the committee and refused to be part of it saying that the panel is formed by the government and not by the Assembly.

“We rejected such a committee set up by the State government. We would have accepted it if the Speaker of Legislative Assembly would have formed the panel,” BJP Legislature Party chief Basant Panda told mediapersons.

Hours later, Congress leadership too denounced it and refused to put its MLA in the team constituted by the government to study the nature of Bidhan Parishads (legislative councils) in other States.

“We were not asked before taking a decision to include our MLA in the list of names for the team,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Prasad Harichandan.

The decision over formation of the panel was taken at a meeting last week chaired by Parliamentary Affairs minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and attended by the secretaries of the Assembly and the Parliamentary Affairs department.

After the meeting, Arukh had informed the media that committee would visit States like Karnataka and Maharashtra to study the matter there and is expected to submit its report by end of this month.

Notably, there are legislative councils in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh while the Union Cabinet has recently cleared a proposal for setting up an Upper House in Assam.