In a major setback to the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the chairman of the Andhra Pradesh legislative council on Wednesday decided, on his own discretion, that two bills relating to the decentralization of the state’s capital (between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool), and repealing of the AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA), should be sent to a select committee.
The committee will comprise state legislators. The decision came after a day-long meeting between the YSRCP and main Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has a majority of 27 members in the 58-member legislative council. The two bills will be deliberated upon for one to three months.
Both the bills were passed in the state assembly on Monday when the three-day special winter session began. The YSRCP has a brute majority of 151 seats in the 175-member lower House. The bills deal with the decentralization of the state’s capital and replacing APCRDA with the Amaravati Metropolitan Development Authority.
The bills hit a roadblock in the legislative council on Tuesday after the TDP issued a notice under Rule 71 to move a motion for debate. Under the rule, the Opposition reserves the right to have a debate on any subject or bill.
On Wednesday, the Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill 2020 and the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020, were introduced in the council for discussion, which ended late in the evening in the upper House, where the YSRCP has just nine members. TDP demanded that both bills should be sent to a ‘select committee’ for further discussion, while the YSRCP argued that the amendment should have been moved on Tuesday. Finally, the chairman of the council Shariff Mohammed Ahmed ruled in favour of the TDP.
“Once the lower House passes any bill for a second time, then it will be deemed to be passed by the council as well, regardless of what the members say. The council’s powers are quite limited and, at best, we can only delay the passing of both bills," said a senior TDP leader, requesting anonymity.