Every state has a Legislative Assembly to represent the people of the state. It is also called the Lower House in case the state has a bicameral legislature. It is the most powerful as compared to the legislative council (The Upper house).
A state is divided into several legislative constituencies as the number of members to be elected. The population and geographical area define the boundary of a constituency. The constituency boundary will be modified once in ten years if there are any changes in the population size (It will be validated after every census once in 10 years).
The masses of the state directly elect the members through an election. Voting rights are given to every Indian citizen above 18 years and registered on the voters’ list. They can cast their vote only to the constituency on which they belong to. The minimum and maximum number of members of a legislative assembly are defined between 60 and 500. But, fewer states with a smaller geographical area, i.e. Mizoram, Goa, Sikkim, etc., are exempted from meeting the minimum number of seats. Some seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and female candidates. The Governor can nominate one member from the Anglo-Indian community.
Legislative assembly meetings are presided by the speaker, and in the absence of him/her, the deputy speaker will conduct the meeting. Both of them are elected by the legislative assembly members.
The term of the legislative assembly is five years, although it can be extended for up to six months in the event of an emergency. At the Chief Minister’s request, the governor can dissolve it before completing its tenure (five years) or failing to pass the floor test with the majority.
Every state will have several political parties, some of which will be state parties and a few of which will be national parties. The political parties which have faith in electoral politics would nominate their candidates for all or most of the constituencies. Any individual who doesn’t belong to a political party can also contest the election; he/she will be called an “Independent candidate”. Every contestant will be given a symbol printed on the ballot paper along with their name. Major political parties have their own permanent symbol.
The essential qualification to become a member of the Legislative Assembly are:
- Must be an Indian citizen
- Should be 25 years old
- Must enrol in the voters’ list of the state
- Should not hold any office of profit
- Should not be a government servant
The States Council of Ministers
The Chief Minister will be chosen by a party that won most constituencies (crossed half mark of the total no. of constituency).
The total number of legislative constituencies in Tamil Nadu is 234. The half-mark would be 117. So, any party which won 118 constituencies (118 MLA’s) would be invited by the governor to form the government. In some cases, he may invite the party that won the most number of seats, but they have to prove the majority in the floor test conducted in the legislative assembly.
The Chief Minister will select ministers for various departments. The Chief Minister and his ministerial colleague are collectively termed as State Government.