Strong Upper Houses in States crucial to safeguard democracy: Yanamala Ramakrishnudu
Former Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu on Wednesday urged the Centre to make Legislative Councils in all the States permanent bodies so as to prevent the autocratic and dictatorial tendencies of the respective State Governments like in Andhra Pradesh.
Stressing the significance of Council, he said that when the majority members in Assembly could not stop the unconstitutional 3 Capitals and CRDA Repeal Bills, it was the Legislative Council which could put them on hold by referring to a Select Committee for taking a broader public opinion.
In a statement here, the TDP MLC and the Opposition Leader in Council said more teeth should be given to the Council by making them permanent just like Rajya Sabha which plays an important role at the national level. The Central Government should bring suitable amendments to prevent abolition of Council at the whims and fancies of individual Chief Ministers. When the Councils are stronger, no State government would dare to cross limits and crush the Constitutional institutions.
It would not be correct to undermine and disrespect the Councils considering the expert advice being provided by their members.
The TDP leader said unlike the Assembly, the members of Council were elected by MLAs, local bodies, employees and graduates. Some MLCs are nominated by the Governor. It was like the election of Rajya Sabha members who were elected by MLAs while some are nominated by the President. As a result, the Upper Houses comprise well-educated individuals with considerable exposure and experience in public life. Their contributions to legislatures would be very significant.
Stating that YSRCP regime was running against the spirit of democracy, Ramakrishnudu said CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was acting like a dictator in the Assembly and he was taking anti-people decisions. The CM's autocratic rule was going on in violation of the Constitution. Fundamental rights were being denied to citizens. Rival leaders were harassed with false cases and arrests. Jagan was showing total intolerance to criticism of his policies. Social media activists were being terrified. Even the courts and the judges were being undermined.
The TDP leader said if democracy is to be protected, the Upper House should not be left to the mercy of the Leader of the Lower House for its survival. A strong system should be put in place to strike a balance between the two houses of legislature. Council may not have the veto power but it should be allowed to give its expert guidance in times of objectionable bills brought forth by the Lower House.