Move to nominate Cong leaders to Council draws flak

Move to nominate Cong leaders to Council draws flak

The government is learnt to have prepared a list of five candidates

The State government’s move to nominate Congress leaders to the Legislative Council has met with criticism from the leaders of both the ruling and the Opposition parties. 

Senior Congress leader B K Chandrashekar has in a release to the media cautioned the party against turning the Upper House into a “photocopy of the Lower House of the Legislature.” 

He also recalled how Governor H R Bhardwaj had rejected the previous BJP government’s recommendation to nominate former minister V Somanna to the Council.

The State BJP, for its part, wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to advise the governor to reject the State government’s recommendation to nominate Congress functionaries to the Council and adhere to the constitutional provisions by nominating only those persons in the field of arts, literature or others.

The government is learnt to have prepared a list of five candidates – V S Ugrappa, Abdul Jabbar, Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi, Shanta Kumar and Jayamala -- for nomination to the Upper House. 

The names will be recommended to the governor for nomination. 

Of the five candidates, four belong to the Congress and each of them has the backing of senior leaders. The government could not send the list to the governor on Tuesday as he was away in New Delhi.

Constitutional propriety

“The issue involved is one of constitutional propriety and cannot be considered lightly by either the chief minister or the governor.

The Upper House is envisaged as a forum to which seasoned and experienced public personalities might get access without facing the din and bustle of a general election which is inevitable for finding a seat in the Lower House,” Chandrashekar, who is a former chairman of the Legislative Council, stated.

According to the Constitution of India, persons having special knowledge or practical experience in such matters as literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social work should be appointed to the Council. 

If political parties do not recognise their responsibility in this matter, the governor will have to affirm the constitutional values, he added.

In his letter to the Union Home Minister, BJP State president Pralhad Joshi has said that the State government’s reported move to nominate active Congress functionaries disregarded the constitutional mandatory provision that persons from the field of arts, science, literature or eminent persons of civil society should be nominated to the Upper House. 

“It is shocking to know that the State government is denying eminent personalities an opportunity to serve the people and represent the voice of the field in which they have carved a niche for themselves,” Joshi said in his letter to Singh.

Defeats the purpose

Nominating active Congressmen, who had lost the election or were denied ticket to contest the polls, defeats the very purpose of the noble intention of providing representation in the Upper House to eminent personalities, he said.