Patna, Jul 1 (PTI) Nine newly-elected members of the state legislative council in Bihar were administered the oath of office by Acting Chairman Awadhesh Narain Singh on Wednesday.
The swearing-in took place in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, both of whom are members of the Upper House.
The effective strength of the legislative council, in which the total number of seats is 75, has thus reached 55, excluding the acting chairman.
The seats lying vacant fall under the graduates and teachers constituencies, besides those against which the members are to be nominated by the governor.
Those who took oath were Ghulam Ghaus, Kumud Verma and Bhishm Sahni JD(U), Mohammad Farooq, Rambali Singh Chandravanshi and Sunil Kumar Singh (RJD), Sanjay Mayukh and Samrat Chaudhary (BJP) and Samir Kumar Singh (Congress).
Headed by the chief minister, the Janata Dal (United) now has the highest number of 23 MLCs. The party received a shot in the arm recently when five Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLCs quit the party, floated a separate group and merged it with the JD(U).
The RJD, an opposition party which is nonetheless the single-largest group in the Assembly, is left with only six MLCs.
The spectre of former chief minister Rabri Devi losing the post of leader of the opposition in the Upper House, equivalent to a cabinet rank, looms large on account of the party's diminished strength.
the strength of a party must be 10 per cent or more of the total in a House for its leader to be acknowledged as the leader of the opposition.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is an alliance partner of the JD(U), has 16 MLCs, in addition to the acting chairman.
The Congress's tally has risen to three.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), an NDA partner which at present has no representation in the state government, has one MLC and so does the Hindustani Awam Morcha, founded and headed by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Two members of the house are independents. PTI NAC RBT RC