PATNA: In a first-of-its-kind happening, altogether 17 seats of Bihar Legislative Council will fall vacant on May 7, as the Commission will not be able to hold polls for these seats before end of the term of current members due to “unforeseen situation of public health emergency” and lockdown.
The current term of 17 members, including the Council’s acting chairperson Haroon Rashid, will end on May 6. Usually, the Commission completes entire election process before end of the term of current members. Resultantly, Rashid will have to relinquish the office of the council’s chairman at the end of May 6.
“I will vacate the office of chairman on May 6, if elections are not held before the date due to the prevailing situation in the country because of Covid-19,” Rashid told TOI over phone from his hometown Supaul.
Of the 17 members whose six-year term is ending on May 6, nine were elected from Vidhan Sabha constituency, four from Graduate constituency and another four from Teachers’ constituency in 2014.
“Election Commission has reviewed the current unforeseen situation of public health emergency and feasibility of completing the poll process for the council election. The Commission, after taking all facts and circumstances in its view, is of the considered opinion that continuing electoral process in the current environment may not be feasible in view of the restrictions for maintenance of public safety and avoiding health hazard, and therefore, the aforesaid election can’t be completed within its scheduled term,” the commission Under Secretary Praful Awasthi said in a letter to chief electoral officer (CEO), Bihar.
“The Commission, invoking its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, orders that process of election to the Council seats shall be initiated at a later date after reviewing the prevailing situation,” Awasthi’s letter reads.
The CEO, Bihar, H R Srinivasa, while confirming the EC’s decision, told TOI that the commission has so far not given any date for initiating the poll process. He said, the Council election from both- the graduate and teachers constituencies and the Vidhan Sabha constituency- has been deferred.
Besides Rashid, other council members who are elected from the Vidhan Sabha constituency and completing term on May 6, are Prashant Kumar Shahi, Satish Kumar, Ashok Choudhary (building construction minister), Hira Prasad Bind, Sonelal Mehta (all from JD(U), and Sanjay Prakash, Krishna Kumar Singh and Radha Mohan Sharma (trio from BJP).
The four graduates’ constituencies where process for the biennial polls should have been started now are Patna, Tirhut, Darbhanga and Koshi. These seats will fall vacant after retirement of sitting members namely Neeraj Kumar (JD-U), Devesh Chandra Thakur (Independent), Dilip Kumar Choudhary (JD-U) and N K Yadav (BJP), respectively, on May 6.
Similarly, four teachers’ constituencies where the biennial polls should have been started are Patna, Tirhut, Darbhanga, and Saran. These seats will fall vacant after retirement of sitting members Nawal Kishor Yadav (BJP), Sanjay Kumar Singh (CPI), Madan Mohan Jha (Congress) and Kedar Nath Pandey (CPI), respectively, on May 6.