The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution on Monday to abolish the state Legislative Council, a move by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government after it failed to pass two crucial Bills related to its plan of having three capitals for the state.
The resolution passed with 133 members voting in favor of it with no votes against it or abstentions, will now be sent to the Centre for necessary follow-up action.
According to Article 161 (1) of the Constitution, resolution for abolishing the Council has to be passed by a majority in the Assembly and by not less than two-thirds of the members present in the House.
Speaker T Seetharam said the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) met both the requirements as it has a strength of 151 in the 175-member Assembly.
As per the reports, the main opposition party in the state, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP stayed away from the Monday session. They termed the move by YSRCP as ‘undemocratic’.
Now the resolution will be sent to the Union Home Ministry for drafting a Bill. The Bill will be tabled in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and has to be cleared by both the Houses. Once cleared, it will go to the President for his assent and issuing the notification.
During the debate, Jagan Mohan Reddy said the step was taken to protect the democracy as the Council was being misused by the opposition to create obstacles for the Bills passed by the Assembly which is directly elected by the people.
He said his government was proud to abolish the Council as it was being misused for political interests and was proving a burden on the state exchequer.
In the 58-member Legislative Council, YSRCP has only nine members and the tally might improve by 2021 as the members began to retire and new appointments would be made. However, the opposition TDP has 28 members in the House. He had to wait till then to unanimously pass Bills in both the Houses.
It is interesting to note that it was the Jagan Mohan Reddy’s father YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the then Chief Minister of the undivided Andhra Pradesh, who revived the Upper House. This was done 22 years after the House was abolished during the TDP regime of NT Rama Rao abolished the House in 1985.