The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government on Wednesday suffered a setback in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council as Chairman M A Sharrif referred two bills aimed at creating three capitals for the state, to a select committee for deeper examination.
This effectively halts, though temporarily, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's plans of having three capitals -- an executive capital in Visakhapatnam, legislative in Amaravati and judicial capital in Kurnool.
The House was then adjourned sine die. The bills are -- AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act (Repeal) Bill.
At the end of an acrimonious debate on the bills, the Chairman announced that he was using his discretionary powers under Rule 154 and referring the Bills to a select committee in line with the demands of the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which is in a clear majority in the Upper House.
It was a very ticklish decision for me to take, Sharrif remarked, even as stunned ruling party members raised a strong voice of protest.
They stormed the Chairman's podium, and even surrounded his chair, and tore copies of the Bills in protest.
The TDP and other independent members too surrounded the Chairman's seat from another side and pandemonium ensued.
Earlier, the 58-member Upper House, where the ruling party has only nine members, witnessed noisy scenes over rules and procedural issues, followed by chaos with the TDP insisting on referring the bills to a select committee.
In unprecedented scenes, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly N Chandrababu Naidu and several TDP MLAs came rushing into the Council officers gallery while Rajya Sabha member V Vijaya Sai Reddy, TTD Chairman Y V Subba Reddy and other YSRCP leaders filled the VIP gallery to witness the tension-filled proceedings.
Even the media galleries were overcrowded as curious legislature staff, police personnel and several outsiders stormed them to witness the happenings in the House, where the TDP is in a majority.
The YSRCP stuck to its scandal charges against the previous TDP government in relation to the capital and maintained that the incumbent government was determined to develop all regions of the state equally.
At the end of the nearly five-hour debate, Leader of Opposition in the Council Yanamala Ramakrishnudu wanted the bills to be referred to a select committee.
Contending that the bills transgressed Parliamentary laws and legal issues, he said a deeper examination was required by the select committee.
"The Bills will have serious implications for the state. It will affect the stateās image as well as investments," Yanamala claimed.
Legislative Affairs Minister Buggana Rajendranath objected to it, citing rules and procedures.
The state Assembly had passed the bills on Monday after 17 MLAs of TDP were suspended amid protests by farmers of Amaravati region, who demanded that the town be retained as the capital.
On Tuesday, the TDP blocked tabling of the bills in the Council for eight hours, forcing five adjournments. Though it was tabled late on Tuesday night, the House was adjourned without taking up the discussion.
On Wednesday, the TDP also demanded the Chairman to disqualify its two members who defied the party whip to vote against a TDP resolution on Tuesday.
After the announcement, several farmers in Amaravati who had been protesting against the state government's move, took to the streets in celebration. They accorded a warm welcome to Chandrababu Naidu.
Read: History to repeat itself? Andhra govt mulls abolishing Legislative Council