The ruling YSRCP government had earlier passed a resolution to abolish the Legislative Council, at a time when the TDP had a majority.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in a meeting with his council of ministers at the Secretariat in AmaravatiFile Photo/PTI
news Governance Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 18:17

On June 18, seven MLCs (Members of Legislative Council) from TDP and one from YSRCP completed their term in the Legislative Council. With this, the TDP’s share in the 58-member Council went down from 22 members to 15. All eight MLCs who have completed their term were under the category elected by Members of Local Authorities. While the Andhra Pradesh High Court has cancelled the elections held to mandal and zilla parishad territorial constituencies in April and fresh elections are yet to be held, the YSRCP secured a massive victory in the urban local body elections held in March, indicating that most of the seats that have now fallen vacant, to be elected by local authorities, are likely to be filled by YSRCP candidates. However, it was not long ago that the ruling YSRCP government moved to abolish the Legislative Council, where major Bills including those related to trifurcating the state capital were facing hurdles due to the TDP’s majority presence. 

It was in January 2020 that the ruling YSRCP government passed a resolution in the state Assembly to scrap the state's Legislative Council, and forwarded the resolution to the Parliament for ratification. The Council was dominated by the TDP, which had 28 members at the time in the 58-member Upper House, while the YSRCP had 9 members at the time. The government decided to abolish the Council soon after the two bills related to capital decentralisation — Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act (Repeal) Bill — were passed in the Assembly where the YSRCP enjoys a brute majority (150 out of 175 members), but hit a roadblock in the Council. The Council Chairman referred the two bills to a select committee for deeper examination, delaying the process by at least three months. 

Prior to this, other bills like the one related to introduction of English medium instruction in all  government schools had also been stalled in the Council. By scrapping the Upper House, the YSRCP intended to decimate all opposition to any kind of legislation, essentially making the opposition ineffective. A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office had said that the TDP was "misusing its majority in the Legislative Council” for “political benefits.” 

Read: AP cabinet passes resolution to abolish Legislative Council: Why this will help Jagan

On June 18, seven TDP MLCs — Reddy Subrahmanyam, Buddha Venkanna, YVB Rajendra Prasad, Buddha Naga Jagadeswara Rao, Gali Sarasawathi, Dwarapureddi Jagadeeswara Rao and Pappala Chalapathi Rao — and YSRCP MLC Ummareddy Venkateswarulu completed their term. As of June 19, in the 58 member Council, the TDP has 15, YSRCP 12, BJP 1, PDF 4, independents 4, and eight are nominated members. While the eight members nominated by the Governor are not officially listed under any party, at least 6 of them are YSRCP leaders. Four of them — Thota Trimurthulu, Lella Appireddy, Ramesh Yadav, Moshen Raju — were recently approved by Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan on June 14. Two other YSRCP leaders, Mayana Jakiya Khanam and Pandula Ravindra Babu, had been nominated by the Governor earlier in July 2020. Of the 14 vacancies, 11 are to be elected by local authorities, and three by MLAS. 

After the resolution to abolish the Council was passed by the Assembly, the decision is now up to the Union government, as the Parliament needs to give its consent, as per Article 169 (1) of the Constitution which allows the Parliament to accept or reject a state Assembly’s resolution to create or abolish a Council in the state. While a majority in the Council seems imminent for the YSRCP, the state government is yet to announce its official stand on the resolution passed in January 2020. 

The Legislative Council in undivided Andhra Pradesh came into existence on July 1, 1958. In 1985, it was abolished by then Chief Minister and TDP founder NT Rama Ra. It was later revived in  2007 by then Congress Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy. 

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