Andhra Pradesh

Stumped in Legislative Council, Andhra Capital shift to Vizag will not happen soon

YS Jaganmohan Reddy will have reason to be upset. Because despite having a brute majority of 151 out of 175 in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Council where the opposition Telugu Desam has the majority, managed to stop his plan to shift the administrative capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam. The Chairman of the Council, Mohammed Ahmed Shariff, who is a TDP MLC, referred the two bills relating to the decision on the capital to the Select Committee. 
What this effectively means is that `Go Vizag’ won’t happen till at least April. 

Shariff’s decision followed heated arguments between the YSRCP and TDP benches, with several ministers using their lungpower and wagging a finger. The ruling party has reason to be upset with the development as the TDP which was virtually decimated in the 2019 elections, has managed to embarrass it. Given the personal backing of the CM to the Vizag decision, it is a loss of face for Jagan. 

But can the YSRCP do anything about it immediately? Finance and Legislative Affairs minister B Rajendranath accused the Chairman of working under the influence of Chandrababu Naidu, taking instructions from him. The government was prepared for the Council to reject the Bills but the Select Committee googly stumped it. But given that the YSRCP does not have numbers in the Council, it cannot even unseat Shariff. 

Jagan is keen on doing away with the Council though many within the YSRCP would be disappointed if it indeed happens. That’s because over the next couple of years, many vacancies are expected to arise and many YSRCP leaders are looking for a berth in the Upper House. They argue that abolishing the House that was revived in 2007 by YSR won’t be good optics and messaging. Two, there is no saying if the BJP at the Centre would ensure speedy concurrence of Parliament to the decision. 

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