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Andhra showdown over select committees to study capital bills intensifies

The YSRC government declared on Tuesday that the two bills -- AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill – were deemed to have been passed, as the select committees could not be formed within the mandatory period of 14 days as per the legislature rules.

south Updated: Feb 15, 2020 07:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
YSR Congress Party President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
YSR Congress Party President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. (ANI File Photo )

The controversy over the constitution of select committees of Andhra Pradesh state legislative council to study the bills pertaining to the formation of three capitals for the state is heading for a showdown between council chairman Mohd Ahmed Shariff and the YSR Congress party government in the state..

An official in the state legislature familiar with the development said Shariff on Thursday sent back the file pertaining to the constitution of select committees to the state legislature secretary P Balakrishnamacharyulu with a strong note that his orders on the issuance of bulletin forming the select committees be complied with within 48 hours, failing which action would be initiated against the official.

The council chairman was angry with the legislature secretary returning the file to him and refusing to constitute the select committees on the ground that the chairman’s decision was against the laid down procedure since no motion was moved in the council and opinions of the members were not taken as per the procedure.

Shariff shot back saying the legislature secretary had no right to defy his order to constitute the select committees as it was done using his discretionary powers under Rule 154 of the legislature.

He ruled that there was no possibility of voting on the select committees in the situation prevailing in the House at that time.

“Apparently, Balakrishnamacharyulu has taken into consideration the objections raised by the ruling YSR Congress party over the way the chairman referred the bills to the select committee in the name of discretionary powers, while admitting that he had not followed the procedure,” the official quoted above said.

While Shariff could not be reached for comment, Telugu Desam Party MLC and one of the members nominated for the select committee, Paruchuri Ashok Babu, told Hindustan Times that the council chairman had given 48 hours’ time to the secretary to form the select committees.

“This is an unprecedented situation in the history of the state legislature, wherein the legislature secretary openly defied the orders of the council chairman. It is a virtual showdown between the legislature and the executive. Let us see what is going to happen now,” Ashok Babu said.

The YSRC government declared on Tuesday that the two bills -- AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill – were deemed to have been passed, as the select committees could not be formed within the mandatory period of 14 days as per the legislature rules.

“Even if the council chairman forms the select committees now, they are not valid,” deputy chief minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose had said.

Leader of the opposition Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, however, countered this argument, saying the mandatory 14-day period for referring the bills to the select committees applied only to the money bills.

“Since the proposed two bills are not money bills, the select committees can still be constituted even without the YSRC members,” he said.

Meanwhile, the TDP has decided to send a delegation of the legislative council members to New Delhi in a day or two to prevail upon the Centre to not abolish the legislative council, as recommended by the YSRC through a resolution in the assembly.

“We shall meet all the Union ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, and explain how the YSRC government is trying to abolish the council only with vengeance. We shall also take MLCs of other parties along with us, if they are interested,” Ashok Babu said.