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After facing setback on key bills, Jagan Mohan Reddy hints at abolishing Andhra Legislative Council

The chairman of the Legislative Council had exercised his 'discretionary power' under Rule 154 and referred the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the APCRDA (Repeal) Bill to a select committee for deeper examination.

A day after Andhra Pradesh government suffered a major setback in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council as Chairman MA Sharrif referred two bills aimed at creating three capitals for the state to a select committee, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government on Thursday hinted at abolishing the Upper House of the Legislature.

Reportedly, the Andhra Pradesh assembly is scheduled to decide next week whether to abolish the Upper House of the legislature, where the Opposition is in a majority. The decision may be taken on 27 January, the final day of the assembly’s special winter session, senior YSR Congress leaders said.

“We need to seriously think whether we need to have such a House which appears to be functioning with only political motives. It is not mandatory to have the Council, which is our own creation, and it is only for our convenience. So let us discuss the issue further on Monday and take a decision on whether or not to continue the Council,” the chief minister told the Assembly on Thursday evening.

Jagan Reddy’s outburst came after the Andhra Pradesh legislative council on Wednesday referred two bills dealing with plans to decentralize the state capital to a select committee, much to the annoyance to the YSRCP.

The chairman had exercised his ‘discretionary power’ under Rule 154 and referred the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the APCRDA (Repeal) Bill to a select committee for deeper examination.

The Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill 2020 and the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020, when passed by both Houses, will pave the way for the state government led by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to decentralize the capital between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.

The ruling YSR Congress MLAs came down heavily on Council Chairman MA Sharrif and Leader of the Opposition in the Council Yanamala Ramakrishnudu over the manner in which the proceedings were conducted and the two vital bills were referred to a select committee.

“The chairman’s decision was against the rule book and the procedure he adopted was very unfortunate,” the chief minister said adding the Council was there only to give suggestions to the government.

“What will be the meaning of governance if the House of Elders does not allow good decisions to be taken in the interest of people and block enactment of laws? We need to seriously think about it, whether we should have such a House or do away with it,” Jagan added.

He said the council is preventing the passage of other important bills, including the one on English medium schools and asked if that was not against the country’s democratic spirit.

The upper House of a state can only be abolished if the Lower House passes a resolution by a special majority, which means resolution should be passed to that effect by a majority of the assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting.

The Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is the single-largest party in the upper House with 27 members in the 58-member chamber. It has been busy stalling bills passed by the assembly, where the YSRCP has a massive 151 seats out of the total 175.

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