Jagan's hasty moves might cost AP dear


Politics in Andhra Pradesh seems to be becoming more and more messier. The government and the Opposition have locked horns on the issue of capital...

Politics in Andhra Pradesh seems to be becoming more and more messier. The government and the Opposition have locked horns on the issue of capital city and instead of holding negotiations and trying to find an amicable solution, the problem has taken political colour so much so that both the ruling party and the Opposition are working out strategies to counter each other for one-upmanship and to ensure that their egos are satisfied.

Political differences between the ruling party and the Opposition as well as differences on policies are common factors anywhere but in Andhra Pradesh in the last seven months, things seem to be going from bad to worse.

Personal differences are assuming political contours and decisions are being taken in the direction of putting the other side in the dock.

It is appreciable that the YSRCP government has taken measures to implement Navaratnalu, the nine gems as promised by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy during his padayatra.

Many of them have been rolled out in the last seven months. Even the money for Amma Vodi scheme has been deposited in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. But then, along with welfare, revenue generation is equally important since the finances of the State are in critical state. The concern of the Chief Minister as stated on the floor of the Assembly over the need to save every rupee and spend it judiciously is understandable.

But having said that, the measures the government is proposing now and wants to implement immediately like decentralisation of administration for overall development of the State are something that needs to be given a second thought. One does not find any great urgency to shift the seat of governance.

Instead, the government could perhaps focus on creating a little cushion in terms of revenue generation, debate and discuss the issue of shifting of capital in detail not just in the State Assembly where it has "intellectuals" to the extent of 80 percent as claimed by the Chief Minister himself but also among the common people cutting across party lines, prepare an acceptable ground for implementation of such ideas and then go in for having as many capitals as they want.

The statement of the Chief Minister who said there is no word called 'capital' in the Constitution of India has raised many an eyebrow. A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country or a State and is the seat of government.

It encompasses government offices and meeting places. In some countries, different branches of government are located in different parts, but a distinction is made between the official 'constitutional' capital and seat of governance which is in another place.

Capital city is necessary to serve as the prime economic, population, cultural, or intellectual centres of a nation or a State. The term capital city as an alternative name for the country or the State for example, "relations between Washington and London" refer to "relations between the United States and the United Kingdom."

If one goes to bank for a loan, there is a column in the application where one has to furnish his or her permanent address. Similarly, for a State there should be a permanent address which is nothing but the seed capital.

The government has been arguing for decentralisation of administration and alleging that scams had taken place in Amravati during the previous regime. If that were so, it should certainly bring the culprits to book and rightly so, it has ordered a CID probe into it. But showing hurry to shift executive capital to Visakhapatnam right now perhaps needs to be reconsidered.

The government can certainly go in for part governance from port city instead of disturbing the permanent address. Any hasty act could land the government into legal complications which will not only result in loss of time but also put a burden on the exchequer. When the government is keen to save every rupee and spend it in a prudent manner, it should perhaps go slow in implementation of such decisions.

The most complicated issue is that of the farmers of 29 villages in the Amaravati Capital Region who had given 33,000 acres under land pooling to the government. As per the agreement the farmers had with the previous government, the government has to give them part of the land as developed plots.

Developed plots means creating basic infrastructure facilities like roads, sanitation etc. and make them worthy enough to be sold or to construct shops or to take up some commercial activity. This would involve fairly good amount. The government needs to give clarity on this issue as well. Interestingly, recently, the State government had sent a proposal to the Centre seeking funds for development of Amravati. The question is will they withdraw that proposal?

The government is also now going ahead with its proposal of abolishing the Legislative Council. Well, it is within its right to do so. As part of bicameral system, we have the two Houses including Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council in the States and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the Centre.

The second House of Legislature is considered important for two reasons. They include; it would act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House. It would ensure that individuals who might not win in direct elections are able to contribute to the legislative process, like experts in various fields.

But the Chief Minister said that the Assembly has 80 percent of intellectuals and hence there is no need for the Council. Nothing wrong in this decision since it has been abolished by many States and it is more of a political decision.

In the past, the then Chief Minister N T Rama Rao got it abolished and later the former Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy revived it despite opposition from the TDP which argued that it was not necessary and a burden on the exchequer.

But then, the government while considering the issue of doing away with Council should not have discussed the proceedings of the Council in Assembly and should not have shown the video clip of the ruling of the Chairman.

The lower House always has the right to pass the Bill once again which is sent back for reconsideration with amendments by the Council, but it cannot discuss the proceedings of the upper House in Assembly. The government would have got accolades if it had not done what it did on Thursday.

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