BJP tells its leaders in Andhra Pradesh to keep mum on Legislative Council abolition

VIJAYAWADA: The BJP central leadership has gagged its leaders in Andhra Pradesh, keeping them from commenting on the State government’s proposal to abolish the Legislative Council. “We were advised not to speak on the issue, given how sensitive it is,” a top leader of the party in the State told TNIE. The BJP has only two members in the House of 58.

The party’s decision to maintain silence seems to have been taken as resolutions from different States, seeking the creation of Legislative Councils, have been pending from before 2013. In 2010, the Assam Assembly passed a such a resolution. Similarly, the Rajasthan Assembly passed one in 2012.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee was formed to examine these Bills, and it recommended the creation of Councils in both States. It also suggested that the Centre evolve a national policy for creation of Upper Houses.

The panel further suggested that provisions be made to prevent the scrapping of the Council at the whims and fancies of the respective parties in power in those States. Later, when the Narendra Modi government was formed at the Centre in 2014, it did not pursue the issue seriously, and the fate of the petitions of Assam and Rajasthan remained hanging. In 2019, Odisha resolved for the creation of a Legislative Council, which is pending.

The Congress, which came to power in Madhya Pradesh, had indicated plans to move a resolution in the Assembly to create a Legislative Council in the State. This promise was made in the party’s election manifesto. Meanwhile, after the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir, the Legislative Council there was abolished.

If Andhra Pradesh resolves to abolish the Council, the resolution will be in line for Parliament’s approval. Whether it can jump the queue and get approved is anybody’s guess. The BJP, which has the public mandate, but is facing difficulties in getting Bills through the Upper House, seems to be giving a serious thought to the pros and cons of the Upper Houses at the State-level. “A nation-wide debate issue is needed,” a BJP leader opined.