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Assembly seat 'office of profit'!

Written by: Staff

Guwahati, May 7 (UNI) Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh had to contend with the runners' up slot as Punjab grabbed the winner's trophy.

Had it been an issue of development or other related field, the two North East states would have basked in the glory, but not this time. They gave a chase to Punjab in making it to the Election Commission's(EC) notification on the office of profit controversy.

Of the total 230 MLAs who made it to the EC's now infamous list of those occupying office profit, 75 names were from North East, a staggering 32.60 per cent in comparision to small number of MLAs in the seven states. Asom's exclusion from the list as it was poll-bound saved the figure from going up.

Of the 75 North East legislators, 25 each are from Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. Sikkim accounts for 17 MLAs, Manipur for six and Nagaland for two.

Of these states, Sikkim has a total of 32 legislative assembly members while the other states have 60 members each.

Of the three states that have given the EC list a miss, Meghalaya has 60 members, Mizoram 40 members and Asom, which was excluded as the state is electing its new representatives, 126 members.

Sikkim has more than 50 per cent of its MLAs in the list, which is by far the highest ratio in the country.

While Uttar Pradesh, with the highest 404 MLAs in the country, does not figure in the EC list, Punjab has 37 of its 117 MLAs holding offices of profit, the highest among all states.

Nagaland may have two names on the EC list, but both are of much prominence. Not only has Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio made the dubious list, the leader of Opposition has also followed suit, with both the leaders referring each other's case to the Governor.

Of the Lok Sabha members across the country whose names appear on a separate EC list, Arunachal Pradesh MP Kiren Rijiju also figures in it.

The politicians of Asom are also a tensed lot. With the election results to be declared on May 11, hectic lobbying would be on in the majority parties for ministerial berths.

With the upper number of ministers fixed, the ruling party used to pacify dissidents with chairmanship of government undertakings. But with the office of profit issue heating up, these posts are likely to have few takers.

The controversy has already claimed prominent figures like Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party MP and Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan.

The NE MLAs may have been included in the same bracket with these prominent personalities in the EC list, but surely, they would desist meeting with disqualification or resigning as the formers did.

As the controversy refuses to boil down, the coming days would determine the fate of these MLAs.

UNI SG MT PL/src1040

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