Dr Sachchidananda Sinha was the first person to raise the voice for a separate state of Bihar as a political unit in 1889. In 1894, a journal was started ‘Bihar Times’ to raise voice for the creation of Bihar Province.He was a member of the Indian National Congress from 1899 till 1920.He also participated in the Home Rule League Movement.He began a movement for a separate province of Bihar.
Creation of Bihar Province
In 1911, the Hardinge Dispatch recommended the separation of Bihar from Bengal on account of the cultural and linguistic differences. Seeing the rising agitation and political leaders’ exerting pressure, the British Government finally decided to create Bihar as a separate province. A new province of Bihar and Odisha was created by the British Government on 1st April, 1912. After that the Legislative Council with a total of 43 members belonging to different categories was formed in 1912.
The first sitting of the Council was convened on 20th January, 1913 in Bankipore. Patna was made as the capital of this province. The Western and Southern part of Bengal was thus separated.Out of 43 members of Legislative Council, 24 members were elected and 19 nominated. The year of 1912 is very remarkable in the history of the freedom movement in Bihar for two reasons.
The reasons are
(i) Bihar was separated from Bengal as a separate province.
(ii) The 27th Session of Indian National Congress was held at Bankipur, Patna.
It created a new spirit and enthusiasm among the people of Bihar. The new political awareness among people made a rapid and remarkable progress in Bihar. A large number of Muslims of Bihar started to participate in the Bihar Congress Party in the beginning of the 20th century. Satyendra Prasanna Sinha became the first Governor of Bihar and Orissa in 1920.
The Legislative Council was created under the Mont-Ford Reforms of 1919. Later the strength of the Council was enhanced to 103 members.
Separation of Bihar from Odisha
The British Government came up with the Act of 1935 that introduced several reforms. By following the Act, two important developments took place. First was the creation of Bihar and Odisha into two separate provinces in 1936 and Bihar attained its statehood. The second important development was general elections organised in Bihar.
Formation of Government in Bihar
Congress emerged as a single largest party in the elections.On 24thMarch, 1937, Sri Krishna Singh, head of Congress Party in Bihar was invited to form the government by the then GovernorMG Hellet.This offer was declined by Krishna Singh as independent decision making power was not given to the Indians till then.Mohd Yunus was then invited to form the government in Bihar.
Thus, Yunus became the first Prime Minister of Bihar in 1937 because in British India,Head of the State was called as the Prime Minister. Yunus’Government stayed till 20th July, 1937. After that Sri Krishna Singh alongwith Congress Cabinet formed the members of the first Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) in Bihar.
Other members of Cabinet were Narayan Singh,Dr Syed Mehmood, Jaglal Choudhary, etc. The assembly had a strength of 152 members.However, the Legislative Assembly stopped functioning from 1939-45. In these years, India being the part of British rule, got involved inWorldWar II.
Bihar During India’s Independence
During India’s Independence on 15th August, 1947, Bihar continued to maintain it’s separate existence. It was counted as a state of India and it was decided that the state will continue to have elections for the Legislative Assembly as before.
First General Elections in Bihar
After India’s independence as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution, the first general elections in Bihar was held in 1952. The total strength of the Legislative Assembly was increased to 331, including 1 nominated member. Legislative Council was also formed as a permanent house. Thus, the State of Bihar has a bicameral legislature that consists of Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The first ChiefMinister was Dr Sri Krishna Singh and Deputy ChiefMinister was Anugrah Narayan Singh.
State Reorganisation Commission
The State Reorganisation Commission formed in 1956 and reconstituted the land area of many states as per the State Reorganisation Act, 1956. The boundary of Bihar underwent many changes.Minor territories of Bihar in Manbhum and Purnea districts were transferred toWest Bengal. Kishanganj remained as a part of Bihar.
On 1st November, 1956, an area of 3166 sq miles was transferred from Bihar to West Bengal by the State Reorganisation Commission. By the State Reorganisation Commission, the number of members in the Bihar Legislative Assembly reduced from 331 to 318. So, from second general elections in Bihar to 1977, the members remained 318. In 1977, after the recommendation of Delimitation Commission, the members of Legislative Assembly were enhanced from 318 to 324.
Formation of Jharkhand from Bihar
Bihar was separated for the second time in the year 2000, when the state of Jharkhand was created by dividing its Central and Southern regions. According to the Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000, the separate State of Jharkhand was created on 15th November, 2000 by giving 45.85% of land area of Bihar. A total of 18 districts of Bihar were transferred to Jharkhand and 37 districts were left with Bihar. The members of the Legislative Assembly was reduced from 324 to 243. The members of Lok Sabha from Bihar were also reduced from 54 to 40. The Bihar Legislative Council was also reduced from 96 to 75 members. From 2000 onwards, the members have remained as it is.