AP CM Jagan Mohan Reddy’s ambitious three-capital bill goes to Governor for nod

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Without waiting for the nod of the legislative council dominated by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress government has sent two bills seeking to build three capitals for Andhra Pradesh to the Governor for his approval.

According to media reports, the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill 2020 and Decentralisation of Administration-Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill 2020 – aimed at the creation of the executive capital in Visakhapatnam, a judicial capital in Kurnool and retention of Amaravati as the legislative capital on Saturday, July 17.

The bills passed by the Assembly last month is now under the consideration of a select committee of the state’s upper house, in which the YSR Congress has only nine members as against 26 by the TDP. Of the remaining, five are with the Progressive Democratic Party and three with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

These bills were originally passed by the state Assembly in January this year but were stalled by the TDP in the Council. As stipulated by Article 197(2), after four months, the YSRCP government re-introduced the two bills in the Assembly and got them passed again to bypass the provision for the clearance from the Legislative Council.

The three-capital move has met with strong resistance from the people in the Amaravati capital region. The farmers, who parted with their land for building the capital, have been holding an indefinite strike for the past seven months now.

The TDP, which has lent support to the strike, has cautioned the Governor against giving nod for the bills. Stating that the two bills are pending with Select Committee of the Legislative Council, TDP leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu has appealed to Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan not to send them for consideration of the President of India.

He said that the Governor may discuss with the Attorney General of India (AGI) before taking a decision as the three-capital pan is in violation of an Act enacted by Parliament. In a letter sent to the Governor, Yanamala said that the YSRC government was reportedly planning to send the twin bills for the President’s assent on the supposition that the Council did not approve the same in 30 days. In fact, the bills are pending with the Select Committee, he argued.

In the light of the hurdles put by the TDP, chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has been toying with the idea of scrapping the legislative council. The government failed to get the upper house nod for the chief minister’s two ambitious plans to introduce English as the medium of instruction in all government schools and to set up two separate commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the past nine months.

He mooted the idea of abolishing the upper house saying that a poor bifurcated state like Andhra Pradesh cannot afford to spend over Rs.60 crore for maintaining the legislative council. He said it abdicated its advisory role and is trying to “subvert” the people’s mandate given to his party.

Image Credit: The Hindu

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