Bengal will soon have an upper house — the Legislative Council — a resolution for which was passed by the state assembly on Tuesday amid BJP opposition. Of the 265 MLAs present in the House, 196 voted for a Vidhan Parishad, which the opposition claimed has no legal status and is being created to help Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee become a member of the assembly in the absence of a by-election.
The state’s Vidhan Parishad, considered a symbol of elitism, was scrapped by the earlier Left Front government in 1969. The ruling Trinamool Congress’s plan revive it, which was part of the party’s pre-election promises, however, is likely to run into rough weather in Delhi.
The upper house in the state assembly can be formed only with the nod of Union cabinet. The proposal goes to the Union Home Ministry.
In case it is shot down, it will mean trouble for Mamata Banerjee, who lost the election against the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram, and is not an elected MLA at the moment. The Chief Minister needs to win an election within six months, which ends in October.
There, however, is considerable doubt whether a by-election will be held in that period given the criticism directed at the Election Commission following the second Covid surge.
In case there is an upper house in the state assembly, Mamata Banerjee can be nominated to it if the by-polls are delayed.
Finance minister Amit Mitra also did not contest the assembly elections. Currently seven assembly seats are vacant in Bengal, where a mammoth nine-phase election was held in March-April.
With inputs from NDTV