NEW DELHI: Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, will be a Member of the state Legislative Council (MLC) and not the assembly. He and four other ministers will step into vacancies left by opposition members in the council, which means the BJP gets to have five more members in the bicameral legislature and also retain all its assembly lawmakers.
Yogi Adityanath, his deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, and two more ministers will contest by-polls to the legislative council on September 18, the BJP announced today.
To retain his post, Yogi Adityanath, a five-time parliamentarian from Gorakhpur, needs to be elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly within six months of taking charge (March 19).
To make it to the legislative council — the state equivalent of the Rajya Sabha in parliament — Yogi Adityanath has to be elected by members of the legislative assembly (MLAs); unlike legislators, council members are not voted directly by the masses.
With the BJP dominating the UP assembly, all five candidates are set for a walkover. No BJP lawmaker has to be sacrificed either to make way for Yogi Adityanath and the four ministers, though plenty reportedly offered to step aside for the saffron-robed priest politician.
The five seats are vacant since opposition members of the legislative council resigned recently — four of the Samajwadi Party and one from Mayawati’s BSP. The BJP is accused by these parties of engineering these exits to facilitate the entry of the chief minister and his colleagues into the council without sacrificing any lawmakers.
Sources say with a strong presence in both houses, the BJP can easily pass laws and take decisions without opposition veto.
Members of the Vidhan Parishad are elected for six years by legislators and others. Many would say this saves candidates the election grind, which includes campaigning, public rallies and voting. A BJP leader, however, scoffed: “Yogi Adityanath hardly needs to avoid elections”.
Yogi Adityanath’s predecessors Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati were also Members of the Legislative Council.
Members of the council or Vidhan Parishad cannot participate in a vote of confidence or suggest money bills, unlike their counterparts in the assembly.