Down the decades

The Uttar Pradesh legislature, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, started as the "Legislative Council for the North Western Province and Oudh" a nominated body of nine members, only four of whom were Indians.

Commonly known as Legislative Council, it came into existence on January 5, 1887, and met for the first time at Allahabad on January 8, 1887. Lieutenant Governor Sir Alfred Comyns Lyall presided.

The Legislative Council used to meet at the discretion of the Lieutenant Governor at the Thornhill Mansion in Allahabad, or Chhatar Manzil (now houses CDRI) in Lucknow and the Town Hall in Bareilly.

The present building came into existence after the strength was increased to 100 in 1921 and it was decided to construct a permanent building at Lucknow. A sum of Rs 21 lakh was sanctioned.

Later, the legislature became bicameral with the constitution of the Assembly under the Government of India Act of 1935. The Legislative Assembly had 228 members and the Legislative Council 60.

The deputy president of the Legislative Council in 1930 was Nawabzada Muhammad Liaqat Ali Khan, who later became Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Several practices originated in the Legislative Council. Raja Rampal Singh rose to ask the first question in the history of the council on December 6, 1893, after the Lieutenant Governor had made his opening speech. Since then, it is a practice to take up questions as the first item on the agenda.

Swaraj Party was the first opposition party and seats were allocated for them on the left in 1924, thus setting the practice for opposition benches.

The council witnessed the first no-confidence motion in September, 1928, when the government moved for the election of a committee by the House to work with the Simon Commission. It was carried by the casting vote of the president, Rai Bahadur Lala Sita Ram.

The first Congress ministry, headed by Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, was formed in July 1937 after Congress won 143 out of 228 seats. The first meeting of the Legislative Assembly was held on July 29, 1937.

In the Legislative Council, Dr Sir Sitaram and Begum Aijaz Rasul were elected the President and the Vice-President respectively on the same day.

After Independence, the UP Legislative Assembly met for the first time on November 3, 1947. Elections were held and the newly elected Assembly of Uttar Pradesh met on May 19, 1952.

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