In a significant move by the Andhra Pradesh government led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the state Cabinet on Monday approved the abolition of the AP Legislative Council, also known as the Upper House of the state legislature. The decision, paving way for its passage in the Assembly where YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) enjoys a majority, comes after the legislative council chairman had last week scuttled Reddy’s ambitious three-capital plan by referring the bill to a select committee by exercising his discretionary powers.
The ruling YCRCP does not enjoy a majority in the legislative council as it does in the Assembly. While the YSR Congress Party holds sway with 151 of 175 seats in the state Assembly, the TDP commands 27 MLCs out of 58, putting it in a commanding position in the upper house.
On Thursday, the state Assembly had met and discussed the happenings in the Upper House. During the discussion, Reddy had urged the Speaker to allow a discussion on Monday on if there was any need to let the council continue to exist, or whether it could be abolished. Two Bills moved by the YSRCP government were scuttled by the opposition Telugu Desam Party. The Bills in question were the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act (Repeal) Bill.
The Jagan government now plans to pass a resolution in the Assembly to approve the dissolution of the state legislative council.
At a special assembly session last week, the TDP posed a hurdle for the YSRCP government in the council by sending the two bills, aimed at decentralising the state's capital between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool, to a select committee for further deliberation. This came after the Bills were passed by the state assembly.
Reacting to the Cabinet’s decision, TDP MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar slammed the Andhra Pradesh government for the decision. "The Legislative Council may be dissolved for other reasons but not for the reason that it sent the bills to a select committee," he told India Today.
The YSRCP, on the other hand, has alleged a conspiracy behind the stalling of the two important bills in the council after they were sent to the select committee. Minister for Finance and Legislative Affairs Buggana Rajendranath said during the discussion in the Assembly that the chairman of the council hadn’t been given discretionary powers of Rule 154 to refer the bills to a select committee. He further said that due procedure was not followed while referring the bills to the select committee.