VIJAYAWADA: In a surprise development, the State government on Tuesday introduced and passed two Bills — the Decentralisation Bill and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Repeal Bill, which were stalled in the Legislative Council in January — in the state Assembly.
The Bills had been referred to a Select Committee of the Council, and though the fate of the committee hangs in the balance, the government got them tabled and passed in the Assembly, and they will now be sent to the Council again.
Passing of bills unethical, illegal, illogical: Naidu
The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 was tabled by Legislative Affairs Minister Buggana Rajendranath and was passed by voice vote. The Bill enables the setting up of three capitals, with Amaravati being the Legislative capital, Visakhapatnam the Executive capital and Kurnool the Judicial capital.
The Bill to repeal the AP Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014 was moved by Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana. It enables the replacement of the Amaravati Metropolitan Region and the Urban Development Authority.
The YSRC government, in the previous Assembly session, moved both Bills intended to scrap the CRDA Act and to decentralise governance by creating three capitals. Though they were passed in the Assembly, where the numbers are in favour of the YSRC, they hit a roadblock in the Council, with TDP members stalling them.
Council chairman MA Shariff referred the Bills to Select Committees, stalling their passage for at least three months. Two Select Committees were formed to look into the Bills, and the TDP, BJP and other parties nominated their members to the committees, but the ruling party did not. The stalling of the Bills prompted Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to pass a resolution in the State Assembly towards abolition of the Council, and the same was sent to the Centre for passing the Bill in Parliament.
Though the Bill to abolish the Council is yet to be tabled in Parliament, the state government on Tuesday, on the first day of the Budget session, tabled the two Bills again and got them passed without any debate as the Opposition TDP boycotted the session. With the passing of the Bills in the Assembly again, they will be referred to Council again, and have to be passed as the Council cannot stop Bills brought before it a second time.
It is not yet clear whether the Bills will be taken up for discussion in the Council given the confusion over the status of the Select Committee. Reacting sharply, Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu criticised the way in which the government passed the Bills. Asserting that his party (TDP) would continue its fight in the Legislative Council and outside, Naidu said these issues were pending in court and the Advocate General himself told the High Court that the Bills in question were referred to a Select Committee.
“The procedures adopted by the YSRC government were unethical, illegal and illogical,” he asserted.On his part, BJP MLC PNV Madhav said they would seek a clarification on the status of the Select Committee, and if the Bills are brought up for discussion, they will oppose them and favour Amaravati being the sole capital of Andhra Pradesh.