Uttar Pradesh Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit on Sunday said a three-day session of the state legislative assembly will begin on August 20 with MLAs occupying alternate seats and also using the visitors' gallery to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per Article 174 of the Constitution, an assembly must convene a session in less than six months. The UP assembly had last met in February this year for its Budget session. At an all-party meeting a few days ago, the Speaker had sought the support of all political parties to ensure compliance of COVID-19 protocol during the upcoming session.
"We have to ensure that during the session, scheduled to be held soon because of Constitutional obligations, COVID-19 protocol was strictly followed," he had said. Elaborating about the seating plan of the assembly, Dikshit on Sunday said the members will be seated leaving a seat between them vacant.
Some of them will be seated in the lobby and the visitors' gallery, he said. "The MLAs will be thermally scanned before they enter the House. I am sure that members will come here wearing a mask. If they do not come wearing a mask, we will give them one," he said.
Dikshit said the air conditioner of the legislature building will work as per the standards set by the central government. "I have requested the ex-MLAs that they should not come to the Vidhan Bhavan during the session of the House," the Speaker added.
Despite being a brief one, the three-day session to be held from August 20 will not be the smallest one of the House. "A one-day session of the UP Legislative Assembly was convened earlier on December 31, 2019 to ratify a bill to extend reservation to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in legislatures for another 10 years," said the Speaker.
"Governor Anandiben Patel has summoned the session of 17th Vidhan Sabha at 11 am on August 20. This will be the second session of the year," UP Vidhan Sabha's Principal Secretary Pradeep Dubey had recently said. At present, there are 306 BJP MLAs in the UP Legislative Assembly, followed by 48 from the Samajwadi Party. The BSP has 18 MLAs, while Apna Dal (Sonelal), an ally of the BJP has nine MLAs.
The Congress has seven MLAs in the House, while the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party has four MLAs. There are three independent MLAs in the House. Rashtriya Lok Dal and Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Apna Dal has one MLA each in the UP Assembly. In the UP Legislative Assembly, there are 403 elected members.