A legislative assembly or Vidhan Sabha is a legislative body in a state of India. It is the lower house of a state legislature (The legislative council is the upper house in those states which have bicameral legislature). The Vidhan Sabha is the assembly comprising the members elected directly by the people of the state through adult electoral suffrage. Through the elections to the legislative assembly, the state’s Chief Minister, his Council of Ministers and rest of the MLAs are elected.
There is no uniform number of seats allocated to state assemblies; it differs from state to state. The number of seats for a particular assembly is fixed and decided by the Election Commission of India on the basis of the population of the respective states. For instance, the legislative assembly of Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of assembly seats with 404 because the state's population is also the highest amongst all the Indian states. Similarly, the legislative assembly of Sikkim has merely 32 seats owing to its small population.
Qualification for Membership of the Vidhan Sabha
A person seeking membership of the Vidhan Sabha must possess the following qualifications:
1. He must be a citizen of India.
2. He must not be less than 25 years of age.
3. He must have a sound mind.
4. He must not have any criminal record declared by a competent court.
5. He must not be bankrupt.
6. He should be a voter from any constituency of the concerned state.
Presiding Officers in Vidhan Sabha
The Speaker is responsible for conducting all the meetings of the Vidhan Sabha. The Deputy Speaker presides over the house when the Speaker is absent. The Speaker manages the debates and discussions in the Vidhan Sabha and takes a neutral judgment. Both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are elected by the majority vote of the members of the Assembly.
Legislative Powers of Vidhan Sabha
In the legislative sphere, both the Houses have been given equal powers by the Constitution. Law making is the prime responsibility and function of the assembly.
Exclusive Powers of Vidhan Sabha
A motion of no confidence can only be initiated in the Vidhan Sabha.
In the case of money bill, the Vidhan Sabha is the sole authority.
In ordinary bills, the decision of the Vidhan Sabha is final.
By a majority of two-thirds, the Vidhan Sabha can ask the President to create or dissolve the Vidhan Parishad.
It has the powers to make laws on every subject in the state list and concurrent list.
The members of the legislative assembly play a role in electing the President of India. The elected members of the legislative assemblies and the Parliament elect the President.
List Showing the Number of Assembly Constituencies in Each State
A number of state legislative assemblies are set to complete their tenure and go to polls in 2017. In the north, assembly elections are to be held in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party are campaigning hard to wrest Punjab from the ruling SAD-BJP alliance. In Uttarakhand, it promises to be a close fight between the BJP and Congress. The Uttar Pradesh assembly elections are deemed as mini- Lok Sabha elections. As the largest state in India in terms of population, it returns the highest number of MPs in the Lok Sabha. Elections in this state are going to be an interesting four-cornered contest among the BJP, Congress, Samajwadi and Bahujan Samaj Party. The other three states going to polls would be Goa in the south-west, Manipur in the northeast and Gujarat towards the end of the year.
Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) Elections, 2016
Assembly elections were held in May 2016 in the four states of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the union territory Puducherry. The BJP emerged victorious in the frontier state of Assam ending the Congress' 15-year-long tenure in the state. Led by Mamata Banerjee, ruling party Trinamool Congress returned to power in West Bengal. Down south, AIADMK matriarch Jayalalithaa also withstood anti-incumbency and inflicted defeat on rival DMK to become the state's chief minister for a record sixth term. In Kerala, the main opposition LDF clinched victory while the Congress won in Puducherry.
State Assembly Elections 2015 in India
Delhi Assembly Election 2015
The 2015 elections to the legislative assembly of Delhi were historic. The elections had taken place after a year of political turmoil in the national capital, in which the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) created history by registering a resounding victory. The AAP won an unbelievable 67 of the 70 assembly seats, while the rest three went to the BJP. The INC was uprooted to extinction. Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP Chief, became the Chief Minister of the national capital for a second time.
Maharashtra is situated in the western part of India. It is the second most populated state of the country comprising more than 110 million people. The capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai, is also the financial capital of India. The state covers an area of 1,18,809 square miles. Like the other states in the country, Maharashtra has a parliamentary system of governance. The state legislature consists of two houses: the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) and the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly). The state is divided into 288 constituencies.
The first assembly elections were held in 1960 in Maharashtra in which Indian National Congress (INC) emerged victorious. The number of constituencies at that time were 264, out of which 33 were reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 14 for the Scheduled Tribes. However, during the third assembly elections in 1967, the constituencies were increased to 270. At present, out of the 288 constituencies, 29 are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 25 for the Scheduled Tribes. In 2009 elections, Congress-NCP coalition was the winner. Congress bagged 82 assembly seats and NCP won 62 seats. BJP managed to get only 46 seats as against 54 in 2004 assembly elections.
The state assembly elections, 2014 were held on 15 October as the term of 12th Assembly was ending on 7 December 2014. The Bharatiya Janata Party came out with an impressive performance bagging 122 out of 288 seats. The Shiva Sena, which bagged 63 seats, was the second best party. The Indian National Congress (INC) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had to settle for 42 and 41 seats respectively.
After much reluctance and differences, the two largest parties - BJP and Shiva Sena - reconciled and formed a coalition government in the state. Following the coming together of BJP and Shiva Sena, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister of the state on 31 October 2014. Fadnavis is the first BJP chief minister of Maharashtra.
The Chief Minister is the de facto head of the state, who has all the executive and administrative powers. The state has a unicameral legislature and the Legislative Assembly comprises 90 members. The state sends five members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament, and 10 to the Lok Sabha, the lower house.
Haryana has been a battleground for the Indian National Lok Dal party and the Indian National Congress (INC). In the 2009 assembly elections INC was victorious and Bhupinder Singh Hooda was elected as the Chief Minister for a second term.
The 2014 elections for the legislative assembly of Haryana were held on 15 October. The polling took place in a single phase simultaneously in all the 90 assembly constituencies. The elections witnessed a record electorate turnout of 76.54 %. The fate of a total of 1,351 candidates was decided by the state's electorate.16,244 polling booths were set up across the state. The verdict of the people was announced on 19 October by the Election Commission of India.
The Indian National Congress could win only 15 seats. In the 2009 elections it had won 40 seats and had formed a coalition government. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) captured 19 seats; 12 less than what it had got in 2009.
The rest of parties and independent candidates could not account for much as the three major parties had grabbed the bulk of the seats.
However, the incumbent Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda won the Garhi Sampla-Kiloli assembly seat with 80,693 votes.
BJP's victory in the state resulted in the appointment of Haryana's first BJP Chief Minister - Manohar Lal Khattar. Khattar, who won the Karnal constituency, bagged 82,485 votes. He defeated Jai Prakash Gupta of INLD by a huge margin of 63,773 votes. Gupta could manage only 18,712 votes.
Other BJP contenders for the CM's chair were BJP's Haryana state president Ram Bilas Sharma, BJP Kisan Cell leader O.P. Dhankar, spokesperson Bhimanyu and MLA Anil Vij. However, Manohar Lal Khattar was appointed as the CM of the state. Manohar Lal Khattar was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Haryana on 26 October 2014.
Jammu and Kashmir, situated in the Himalayan mountains, shares international border with China in the east and north. The state comprises three regions namely, Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital.
Under the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, the governor is the head of state, and is appointed by the President of India. He is assisted by the Chief Minister and a council of ministers. The legislature consists of two houses: the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and the smaller Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad). Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh regions sends 37, 46 and 4 members respectively to the Legislative Assembly.
The assembly elections for 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir were held in five phases starting on 25 November and ending on 20 December. The results were announced on 23 December. The PDP got 28 seats. The BJP emerged as the second largest party in the state winning 25 seats. Omar Abdullah led JKNC bagged 15 seats while the INC settled for only 12.
The two biggest parties in the elections, PDP and BJP were in talks of joining hands and forming a coalition government but failed to reach an agreement. Consequently, Governor's Rule was imposed in the state on 9 January 2015.