Vidhan Parishad, an upper house is soon going to be set up in the Odisha Cabinet. The proposal to set it up was approved by the Naveen Patnaik led Cabinet and will soon be introduced in the monsoon session of assembly. Seen as a move that is purely based in the best interests of the party the opposition parties BJP and INC continue to oppose the resolution.
After being introduced in the Assembly, the resolution must get the support of 2/3rds of Assembly and will need the approval of Union Cabinet, both houses of Parliament and the President himself.
Speaking about the decision to oppose, leader of opposition Narsingha Mishra told the media that the assembly itself sees a weak participation, suffers from the shortage of staff and substandard proceedings. Therefore, the charge that the initiation to set up another house might just be to appease the ones that failed to make it to the assembly cannot easily be brushed aside.
He also pointed out the shortage of assembly reporters and the directions of the Public Accounts Committee reaching their intended audience after months.
BJP leader Pradip Purohit emphasized that the state already holds a debt of 90,000 crores and all its revenues are diverted into paying salaries, pensions, financing the debt. He questioned the timing of the establishment of another house in the assembly while the rural areas suffer from lack of drinking water and schools from a shortage of staff?
While the leader’s claims look like they carry a lot of weight, the actual numbers required to set up an upper house are negligible. Members of Vidhan Parishad are expected to cost the state Rs 35 crore annually. Given the benefits of establishing an upper house far outweighs the cost of setting it up, the move might actually be supported by the Central government and the President after passing the State Assembly.
It is a move that makes Odisha among the other states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, etc. that have a bicameral legislature.