Ranchi: Political leaders in Jharkhand have made a strong pitch for increasing the strength of the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, saying it can provide political stability and put to rest allegations of horse-trading during Rajya Sabha elections.
"Any possibility of horse-trading will definitely end if the total strength of the Jharkhand Assembly is increased," a spokesman for one of the parties in the ruling alliance, Ajsu Party, Dev Sharan Bhagat, said.
There would be political stability as well in the state, which suffers from trivial issues flaring up into major controversies, Bhagat felt.
It may be noted that in the 11 years since the state of Jharkhand came into being, there has been a change of government eight times and President's Rule imposed two times.
"Just like leaders of other states unite on matters affecting their respective regions, Jharkhand leaders should also put pressure on the Centre to give a positive response to
Jharkhand's requirements," he said.
Former deputy chief minister and ruling BJP MLA Raghuvar Das echoed Bhagat’s views, saying, "An increase in the number of seats can indeed prevent horse-trading-like situations and political stability depends on sufficient numbers in the House."
Urging all MPs representing the state to raise the issue in Parliament, BJP’s vice president Deepak Prakash said, "The seat strength should at least be increased to 120. There should also be a Vidhan Parishad as most of the seats are reserved in the state."
The Janata Dal (U), another partner in the BJP-led government, reminded that twice the Jharkhand Assembly had passed resolution to increase its strength to 160 and sent it to the Centre.
"But nothing happened. It is the responsibility of the national parties to look into the demand. Once seats are increased, the ignominy of political leaders facing charges of horse-trading would end," JDU spokesman Pramod Mishra said.
Agreeing with Mishra’s contention, Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Sailesh Singh said Congress too wanted an increase in the number of seats and all parties should send a joint representation to Delhi in this regard.
"Less number of seats means less chances of stability, more number of seats means more chances of stability. And development of Jharkhand depends on political stability," Sinha said.
RJD Legislature party leader Annapurna Devi also agreed with the view.
JMM spokesman Suprio Bhattacharya, however, expressed concern that if the total number of seats was increased, tribal reserved seats could be reduced.
"The basic problem is that the number of tribal seats will be decreased proportionate to population. Even the delimitation committee put off its exercise in Jharkhand and Northeastern states on this ground a couple of years ago.
"Things will automatically be solved, if all political parties ensure that no businessman coming from outside should get support in RS polls," Bhattacharya said.
Noting that Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric) is also in favour of an increase in the number of seats of the House, its legislature party leader Pradip Yadav said the state was going through a phase, which had also been witnessed in several other big states.
Bihar was seeing stability after brief political instability some years ago and so also did Uttar Pradesh where people gave an absolute mandate in the last two elections, Yadav said.
"Time will come for Jharkhand when people will give majority to one of the parties to solve problems confronting the state,” Yadav said.