SUMI SUKANYA-New Delhi, : Jharkhand state subordinate legislation committee today urged a parliamentary panel to increase the number of Assembly seats, saying the move would pave the way for formation of single-party government in the tribal heartland in the future and thus usher in political stability.
The state panel, headed by its chairman Congress’s K.N. Tripathy, also urged the parliament subordinate legislation committee to carry out fresh delimitation of smaller states in the country.
At a meeting with the eight-member parliamentary panel chaired by Kerala MP P. Karunakaran in Delhi, Tripathy, an MLA from Daltonganj, said the Jharkhand Assembly, which at present has 82 members (including one nominated), should have at least 140 seats.
According to the Congress leader, more Assembly members would lead to formation of a majority government in the tribal-dominated state, which is yet to witness the real fruits of development.
Citing the frequent bouts of political uncertainty and government collapses in Jharkhand, Tripathy said this happened because of “unreasonable demands of coalition partners”, leading not only to political crisis at regular intervals but also affecting development. Whenever a coalition government falls, development works suffer, he told the panel.
He believes that such situations can be avoided if the state Assembly has more members. “In the 13 years since Jharkhand came into being, the government changed eight times with three stints of President’s Rule. All this has primarily happened because lesser Assembly seats mean that if a few MLAs switches sides, the entire political equation changes,” he later told reporter.
He also said if the Assembly strength was increased, there would be less chances of corrupt practices like horse-trading during Rajya Sabha polls.
Jharkhand has been long pressing for at least 10 Assembly seats per Lok Sabha constituency in the state. At present, there are 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. In fact, the state Assembly had passed a resolution to increase its strength to 160 and sent it to the Centre.
“But nothing happened. It is the responsibility of the Parliament to look into the demand,” the MLA added.
However, some political parties like JMM are opposed to it. JMM, a coalition partner of Congress in the Hemant Soren-led government, fears that if the number of seats is increased, reserved seats for tribal might be reduced.
“The problem is that the number of tribal seats will be decreased proportionate to the population (if a fresh delimitation is carried out). Even the delimitation committee put off its exercise in Jharkhand and Northeastern states on this ground a couple of years ago,” said a party leader.