Vijayawada : Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council has always been the 'victim' of political games. Its abolition and revival have been dictated by the politics of the day. When the ruling party finds it difficult to face the Council and thinks it is a hurdle, it would seek to abolish the Council. When the party in power wants to accommodate its leaders, it would become a rehabilitation centre.
Currently, unable to digest the discretionary power exercised by the chairman of Legislative Council, Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy indicated enough to abolish the Council, which in the fact was revived by his father and former AP CM Y S Rajasekhar Reddy to rehabilitate his men after he came to power in 2004.
On the other side of the coin, TDP has always opposed the existence of the Legislative Council. But, in its bad times now, having found a messiah in the Chairman, the opposition led by Chandrababu Naidu is expected to defend it in the face of Jagan's threat to scrap it.
Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council came into existence on July 7, 1958 under Article 168 of the Constitution and it was inaugurated by the then President Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad. The first to occupy the chair of the Upper House was Madapati Hanumantha Rao.
But, in 1983, upon coming to power, TDP supremo N T Ramarao found the Congress-dominated Council a hurdle to his autocratic style of governance. Many say Congress leader K Rosaiah, the then Opposition Leader in the Council, was the immediate provocation for N T Ramarao to take the drastic step. The former finance minister of AP, Rosaiah was known for this biting sarcasm and NTR, a rabid anti-Congress politician, didn't want face Rosaiah every day in the Council.
Not only in Council, whole situation outside legislature looked hostile to NT Ramarao with Congress having a majority in all local bodies across the state. He vowed to conquer the whole state. He took up the matter of abolition of the Council as the first step as it looked easy for him since TDP had got a majority in the House.
NTR’s fear was that since the TDP had got only a razor-thin majority of 165 in a House of 294, all important bills would be stalled by the Congress in the House. So, he wanted to get rid of the Council.
The AP Legislative Assembly, then, passed a resolution on March 24, 1983, demanding the abolition of the Legislative Council on the grounds among others, of the economy. The proposal, however, was rejected by the then Union government. But a private members' bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 18 November 1983 and another was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24 February 1984 seeking the abolition of the Legislative Council of the state.
The matter came up before Rajya Sabha in March 1984 by way of Calling Attention Notice by Era Sezhian of DMK. The issue figured in Lok Sabha again also on 22 August in 1984 as a matter of privilege.
The Centre and the Lok Sabha Speaker took shelter in Article 169 and said Article 169 of the Constitution does not impose any obligation on the government of India for initiating legislation in the parliament to abolish the Council.
The fact is that Congress (I) government at the centre was in no way interested in abolishing the AP Legislative Council, where it was in a majority.
But after the 1984 parliamentary elections and the 1985 mid-term polls to AP Legislative Assembly, in which Congress (i) miserably failed, N T Ramarao as a strategy diluted his hostility towards the centre. He extended support to the Anti-Defection bill piloted by Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi-led government in parliament. In reciprocation, Rajiv Gandhi allowed the passage of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council (Abolition) Bill, 1985.
Later, when in power in the state in 1989 the Congress sought to revive it. But the United Front Government headed by V P Singh at the centre scuttled move citing Article 169. The state Congress had to wait until the arrival of the UPA government in 2004. Having won the 2004 election with a huge majority, Congress chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy made another attempt to revive it and succeeded.
The Assembly had adopted a resolution seeking revival of the Legislative Council despite the opposition by the TDP, CPM and others.
A resolution seeking revival of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council was approved in the UPA dominated Parliament in 2005 and the Upper House came to into existence in 2006.