A.P. government to scrap Legislative Council?

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The Andhra Pradesh government seems to be contemplating abolishing the Legislative Council going by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s assertion that the “Upper House” did not deserve to exist if it rejects important Bills by violating rules.

In fact, Mr. Reddy urged Assembly Speaker Thammineni Seetharam to facilitate a discussion on the subject on January 27 so that the members could take a collective view on the alleged flouting of norms by Council Chairman Shariff Mohammed Ahmed in referring the A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and CRDA Repeal Bills to a select committee and its repercussions.

‘Under pressure’

Making a statement on the reference of the Bills to a select committee in the Assembly on Thursday, the Chief Minister alleged that Mr. Ahmed could not apparently go by the rule book as he was under tremendous pressure from former CM N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was sitting in the Council.

Not only YSR Congress MLCs but also those belonging to the Left parties, the BJP, the Congress and independents found fault with the conduct of the Chairman.

If the Chairman was allowed to be swayed by a particular party, the consequences would be terrible in future, he warned, insisting that serious thought needed to be given to the relevance of the Council.

‘Political agenda’

Mr. Jagan observed that the Council was working with a political agenda, which was evident from the rejection of two Bills on the formation of separate SC and ST Commissions and the introduction of English medium in government schools.

Besides, the Council Chairman sent the decentralisation and CRDA repeal Bills to a select committee after initially agreeing to stick to rules, the Mr Jagan said, claiming that the Constitution was silent about ‘capitals’ and the government was free to discharge its functions from any place of its choice.

As far as the Council Chairman’s discretion was concerned, the Mr Jagan said it was used to violate rules, adding amendments to the Bills should have been moved within 12 hours of their consideration but it did not happen in the present instance.

Only six States in India had Councils and in A.P., the expenditure on it came to ₹60 crore per year.

Earlier, Minister for Finance, Planning and Legislative Affairs Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said the Council Chairman misused Rule 154 which could be invoked only for making minor adjustments and condoning any delay in moving a motion, which was different from giving notice for a motion.

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