The monsoon session of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly could be held in August through video conferencing, its Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit said on Sunday, but ruled out holding a 'hybrid session' on the lines of the British Parliament.
He also said the final decision on the issue will be taken by the state government and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
"At present, we are mulling all the possibilities (to hold the monsoon session of the UP Legislature). One possibility is holding the session through video conferencing," Dixit told PTI on Sunday.
"Another option available with us is to hold the session at the Lok Bhavan. There is also the possibility that a section of seats in the upper area of the Vidhan Sabha can be vacated, as it can accommodate 100-125 people (MLAs)," he said.
He added that the Lok Bhavan has sufficient space for seating all MLAs.
However, the final decision is yet to be arrived at and will be taken by the state government and the chief minister.
To a specific question on whether the UP Legislative Assembly may witness a 'hybrid' session on the lines of the UK's Parliament, whereby some MLAs will be physically present in the House and the others will attend the proceedings via video conferencing to ensure social distancing, the 74-year-old Speaker said, "There is no such thought of doing so (aisaa vichaar nahi hai)."
In April, the UK Parliament achieved a historic first as the House of Commons held the weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in a 'hybrid' form, with around a dozen lawmakers physically present within the chamber and others tuning in online through giant screens set up to adhere to the social distancing norms in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.
A number of MPs logged in through the Zoom application to address their questions in relation to their specific constituencies.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had granted an extra 15 minutes to the usual half-hour PMQs session to allow for technical challenges but the hybrid form of the session went ahead without major hurdles.
In an earlier interview to PTI (in May), Dixit had said, "At present, the House is not in session. The monsoon session of the UP Legislative Assembly should be held some time in August and I am optimistic that by then the situation would have changed."
He had further said, "If we adhere to social distancing and leave one seat vacant, we will not have enough seats. There are 403 MLAs. Already there are not enough seats for everyone. There is a shortage of 10-12 seats. The work goes on as (generally) 10-12 (members) are absent. In these circumstances, if one seat is left vacant then not more than 200 MLAs will be able to sit".
At present, there are 307 BJP MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly followed by the Samajwadi Party which has 48 MLAs. The Bahujan Samaj Party has 18 MLAs, while there are seven Congress MLAs.
BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has nine MLAs and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has four MLAs. There are three Independent MLAs, while there is one MLA each from the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Apna Dal.