With the YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh going ahead with its plans to abolish the Legislative Council, two ministers representing the Upper House may lose their cabinet posts before the five-year tenure of the government ends.
Deputy Chief Minister (Revenue) Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose and Fisheries Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana are members of the Council and there was talk that they would resign from their posts taking the moral high ground as the government decided to abolish the Upper House. However, nothing of the sort happened as of late on Monday night.
The Assembly adopted a statutory resolution, seeking that the Council be abolished under Article 169 (1) of the Constitution. The Centre will now have to enact an enabling law in Parliament before the President issues a formal notification bringing the existence of the Council to an end.
Since this process will take a lot more time and the House will remain in existence till then, the ruling YSRCP leadership contended that the two could continue in the Jagan Mohan Reddy Cabinet.
"Even after the Council ceases to exist, the ministers can remain in the Cabinet for a further six month period as per the Constitution," a senior minister, who did not wish to be quoted, pointed out.
But Bose's tenure as MLC ends on March 29, 2021 while Ramana has time till the same day in 2023. So Bose can hold his Cabinet post for 14 more months.
The two, who have been with Jagan since the formation of the YSRCP, lost the Assembly elections in April 2019 but were accommodated in the Council after the government assumed power.
Having the Council in place was also politically crucial for the YSRCP as Jagan had promised MLC posts to several leaders.
However, if the state goes ahead with its plan of decentralising the administration, a few posts as chairman of the proposed zonal planning and development boards would open up, where senior leaders could be accomodated.
Additionally, abolition of the Council will deal a blow to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which currently has a majority with 28 members, including party supremo Chandrababu Naidu's son Nara Lokesh and veteran leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu.