Andhra cabinet approves decision to abolish state legislative council
The Andhra Pradesh cabinet led by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday approved a resolution for abolishing the state’s legislative council, which the government feels is a major hurdle for passing crucial bills.
The resolution was introduced in the assembly by Jagan Mohan Reddy as state information minister Perni Venkatramaiah began the discussion.
It is expected to be passed unanimously as the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) announced a boycott of the assembly session.
After it is passed in the assembly, the bill will be sent to the Union home ministry which in turn will have to introduce a bill in Parliament for its passage.
The entire exercise may take a year, an official familiar with the development said.
TDP leader in the legislative council, Y Ramakrishnudu, said the process to abolish the council would take more than two years’ time. He said the Jagan Mohan Reddy government and the assembly could only pass a resolution requesting the Centre to scrap the council.
The legislative council was first abolished by the NT Rama Rao government in 1985. But, YS Jagan’s father YS Rajasekhara Reddy revived it in 2007 by lobbying with then Manmohan Singh government at the Centre.
The immediate reason for Jagan Mohan Reddy’s decision to abolish the Upper House has come after the TDP stalled his government’s two bills seeking to create three capitals for decentralising the administration in the council. The TDP could get the bills to be referred to the select committee.
The chief minister and his YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MLAs have lashed out at the council, saying it had become a hindrance for development. He said the government was incurring an expenditure of Rs 60 crore every year on the council and that the poor state cannot afford it.
The chief minister’s YSRCP enjoys an overwhelming majority of 151 in a 175-member assembly. Opposition TDP has 28 members is the 58-member legislative council and the YSRC just nine. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has two and Progressive Democratic Front five members.
There are three Independents lawmakers and eight nominated members in the upper House, which has three vacancies.