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Consensus in Assam on creating council, says MPs panel

Posted on Jan 24 2014 | IANS

Guwahati, Jan 24 : There is "sort of a consensus" and positive response in Assam from all organisations, including political parties, on the issue of creating a legislative council in the state, a parliamentary panel's chief said here Friday.

"There is sort of a consensus in Assam over the issue of creation of the legislative council. All the organisations, including political parties, have expressed their eagerness for having the legislative council except for one political party, which has expressed its opposition over the issue," said Shantaram Naik, MP.

He heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice, and was here with other members of the committee to study the issue.

"The bill for creation of legislative council in Assam is under examination of this committee and we have sought opinion from the members of civil society," said Naik.

"We cannot give details about the proceedings of the meetings," he said, adding they interacted with various stakeholders like political parties, the state government, the seven autonomous councils in Assam and some NGOs.

The parties the committee interacted with were the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Asom Gana Parishad, Nationalist Congress Party, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the All India United Democratic Front.

"After examining the feedback, we are going to submit the report to parliament," Naik said, adding that the committee would also recommend that the government have a national policy for the second chamber of the state legislature, so that it is not abolished by the successive governments, on whims and fancies, once created.

Of the proposed 42-member legislative council, 14 would be elected by the members of the Assam legislative assembly, four will be elected by teaching community, followed by four more to be elected by graduates, he said.

Another 14 members would be elected by members of municipal bodies, Panchayati Raj institutions and members of autonomous councils while the remaining six members of the council would be nominated by the governor.

Naik said that many of the ethnic communities are not represented in the state assemblies and hence the constitution has the provision of creation of the legislative councils in states for the benefit of unrepresented communities.

At present there are legislative councils in six states - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Utter Pradesh while there are proposals to create them in Assam and Rajasthan.

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