Andhra Assembly passes Panchayat Raj Amendment Bill to curb election malpractices

The Bill was passed on Monday with voice vote amid objections by the opposition TDP.
Andhra Assembly passes Panchayat Raj Amendment Bill
Andhra Assembly passes Panchayat Raj Amendment Bill
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The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Monday passed the Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill 2020 by a voice vote amid objections raised by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said, "The Bill was earlier passed by this House and sent to the Legislative Council which returned it with some amendments. It is the second time the Bill is being tabled in the House and it is just a formality to get it passed."

The CM, while taking exception to the objections, said that there was no reason for the opposition parties to make an issue out of it. 

Jagan intervened when opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders tried to raise objections to the Bill as Panchayati Raj Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy tabled it and explained its salient features.

The Minister said there was no scope of negating the Bill which had been okayed by the House. According to the CM, the law is aimed at preventing malpractices such as spending money to influence voters in the election. He said, "The amendment is intended to prevent anyone from spending money on elections. The Bill reportedly has a provision to check the malpractices in elections, including money power. It will allow authorities to take action against the accused even after  the election results are announced.”

The Bill was passed in the same format it was earlier introduced, as the Assembly rejected the amendments proposed by the Legislative Council.

According to the ruling party, what was okayed by a majority of 151 members will prevail and the Bill in its original form had again been put forth for consideration of the Assembly which was a "mere formality".

"The opposition is acting as if the Bill has been just introduced and is unaware of it," said an official statement.

According to the state government, the Bill aims to check malpractices in Panchayati Raj Institutions' elections, check money power, expedite poll schedules and also for taking action against erring officials even after results are announced.

"As the Council has sent it back, the Assembly is passing it for the second time. It is just a formality," said the statement. The amendments proposed by the Legislative Council were rejected by the House and the Bill was passed in the same format as it was introduced earlier.

The TDP members staged a walkout, stating that the Bill was passed without discussion.

IANS inputs

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