Amaravati: With the Bills for creating three capitals facing hurdles in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government is mulling a proposal to abolish the Upper House of the State Legislature.
As the ruling party is in minority in the Council, the two Bills passed by the State Assembly Monday night faced a roadblock on Tuesday with the main opposition the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) insisting for debate on its notice moved under Rule 71 before taking up the Bills for the debate. Council Chairman Mohammed Ahmed Shareef agreed to the TDP demand, triggering strong protest from the YSRCP. Minister for Legislative Affairs B Rajendranath Reddy urged him to reconsider the decision saying this would set a wrong precedent. He wanted the chair to first take up the two Bills for debate before allowing discussion on the TDP notice under Rule 71.
Amid the pandemonium, the chairman adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When it re-assembled, the chairman asked TDP member Y Rajendraprasad to speak, evoking strong protest from the ruling party. Some Ministers rushed to the chairman’s podium to lodge their protest. The ruckus forced him to once again adjourn the House.
As soon as the Council met for the special session, the TDP moved the notice under Rule 71, opposing the government’s policies. The discussion under the rule entails voting and since the YSRCP is in minority in 58-member House, it opposed the discussion under the rule.
Following the impasse, the government is said to be considering a proposal to abolish the Council. An emergency meeting of the state cabinet is likely to be held and send the proposal to the Centre for its approval. The YSRCP, which came to power in May last year, has only nine members in the Council. TDP is in majority with 34 members.
It was in 2007 that the Legislative Council in the undivided Andhra Pradesh was revived after a gap of 22 years. The Council was abolished by the TDP government on May 31, 1985 since the then chief minister N. T. Rama Rao felt that it was redundant and caused a drain on the state exchequer. However, the real reason was that Rama Rao found it difficult to push through controversial legislations and policy decisions in the Upper House which was at that time dominated by the Congress. The Assembly on Monday night passed Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill and Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, paving the way for development of three capitals — Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.
As the YSRCP has overwhelming majority in 175-member Assembly, the Bills were passed without any problem. The TDP and other opposition parties are demanding that Amaravati be continued as the only State capital.