With eight members of the J&K Legislative Council completing their term on Saturday, the strength of the Upper House will come down to 22.
According to a notification issued by chairman Legislative Council Haji Inayat Ali, eight MLCs – three each from Peoples Democratic Party and Congress and one each from BJP and National Conference – are retiring on March 16.
Former Minister and PDP leader Naeem Akther figures among the legislators completing their tenures. The other legislators are Rani Billoria (Congress), Naresh Gupta (Congress), Muhammad Muzaffar Parrey (Congress), Showkat Ganai (NC), Yashpal Sharma (PDP), Sofi Yousuf (BJP) and Firdous Tak (PDP).
While Akther, Parrey, Ganie, Billoria and Gupta were elected for full six-year term in 2013 during the NC-Congress rule, Tak and Yousuf were elected during the PDP-BJP rule in 2015 against the casual vacancies caused by the resignation of as many members.
With retirement of these members, the strength of House will reduce to 22 as six seats of Panchayat and Municipal quota are already lying vacant.
This would also affect the party strength in the Upper House also known as the House of Elders.
The BJP and PDP would now have 10 and eight members respectively in the House. Interestingly, the BJP will now become the single largest party in the House.
Before forming government with PDP in 2015, the BJP had managed to send only one member to the Upper House since its inception. Daya Krishan Kotwal represented the saffron party in the Upper House between 1996 to 2002.
The former allies Congress and NC would be left with one and three legislators respectively.
These eight vacancies can be filled only when an elected government would be in place in the state because electoral college for them comprises of MLAs.
The other six vacancies can be filled anytime as Electoral College for them comprises of elected panchayat and ULB representatives.
The State Administrative Council recently decided to write to the Election Commission of India for filling Panchayat and ULB quota vacancies in the House.
The nomination of eight MLCs, four each of PDP and BJP, by the previous government has also been challenged in High Court.