Bhopal: The Kamal Nath-led Congress government has proposed the establishment of a legislative council (the Upper House in legislature) in Madhya Pradesh.
The proposal was part the Congress’ manifesto ahead of the Assembly elections in the state last year.
The move has, however, evoked strong objections from the opposition BJP which has called it ‘waste of funds’ and an attempt by the ruling camp to quell discontent within the party and among allies.
Chief Secretary SR Mohanty is said to have discussed the issue during a meeting held on Tuesday and it was decided the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry would oversee the legal aspects of setting up the council.
Sources said the state government wishes to introduce a resolution on the matter in the upcoming winter session of the Assembly.
However, the initial cost of Rs 30 to Rs 40 crore to set up the council is a cause of worry for the cash-strapped Congress government. Officials are said to have started studying similar systems prevalent in other states and their provisions.
Public Relations Minister PC Sharma told reporters that creation of a legislative council requires nods from the Cabinet, Assembly and Centre and the ball has been set rolling.
“Almost a dozen other states have bicameral system of legislature, including the Assembly and legislative council, and the proposed council in the state would have around 75 members,” Sharma said.
State BJP president Rakesh Singh said the Nath government resorts to new gimmick every other day to distract people’s attention from its “inabilities, unfulfilled promises and incomplete announcements”.
Seeking to know how the state government plans to arrange Rs 100 crore for the council, Singh said the Congress is trying to cool tempers of sulking party leaders and allies by accommodating them in the proposed council.
The BJP leadership has decided to hold a Kisan Akrosh Andolan (farmers’ protest) on November 4 to protest against the misuse of funds on the proposed council at a time when farmers are facing one of worst crisis in recent times.
However, state minister Govind Singh accused the BJP of taking a U-turn on the issue claiming that former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Gopal Bhargav were in agreement with the Congress on the creation of the council barely three months ago and now they were flaying the move.
“We are committed to fulfil this pre-election promise and would shortly approve the resolution in the Cabinet and would directly send it to the President of India for a final nod,” Singh said.
Earlier in the day, Nath said the BJP leadership slammed every move of the government just for the sake of it.