Cong demands resignation of ministers with expired tenures

Patna, May 8 (PTI) The Congress in Bihar on Friday termed as unethical and against constitutional norms the continuance of a couple of Bihar ministers in their posts despite the expiry of their legislative council tenures earlier this week.

Senior Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra, an AICC media panelist who is himself a member of the Vidhan Parishad, expressed surprise that neither building construction minister Ashok Choudhary nor Neeraj Kumar who holds the Information and Public Relations Department portfolio have tendered resignation.

It is true that a person can be appointed a minister despite not being a member of the legislature and can continue in office provided he is elected to either House within six months. But neither Choudhary nor Kumar have been freshly inducted into the state cabinet, Mishra said here in a statement.

There is no comment from the ruling NDA on the subject.

Both Choudhary and Kumar were sworn in a year ago, in a cabinet expansion by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shortly after the NDAs stupendous victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

They are among 17 members of the 75-strong legislative council whose tenure ended on Wednesday.

The Election Commission is yet to announce a poll schedule for the Upper House.

Both ministers belong to the JD(U), of which the Chief Minister is also the national president.

Choudhary was, incidentally, formerly with the Congress and headed its Bihar unit being unceremoniously sacked from the post of the BPCC president in September, 2017.

He joined JD(U) a few months later along with three other MLCs of the Congress after engineering a split in the party in the legislative council.

Mishra said the minister should follow the example of their party colleague Haroon Rashid whose tenure ended on the same day and he vacated the post of Acting Chairman subsequently.

Notably, legislative council has been rendered headless with Rashids term coming to an end and recommendation yet to be made to the Governor by the state government for appointment of a sitting member as the Acting Chairman.

The two ministers should, accordingly step down for the sake of constitutional propriety. Of course, the state government can re-appoint them, making them take the oath of office no sooner than it is possible, Mishra added.

Similar views have been reportedly expressed by constitutional experts whose comments on the peculiar development have appeared in a section of the media here. PTI NAC SNS SNS