Andhra Pradesh cabinet to meet today to discuss crucial issue of relocation of state capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam - LiveNow24x7: Latest News, breaking news, 24/7 news,live news

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Monday, 20 January 2020

Andhra Pradesh cabinet to meet today to discuss crucial issue of relocation of state capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Council of Ministers and the Legislature will meet one after the other in Amravati on Monday to decide the fate and the future of the state capital.

There is widespread anticipation on what is in store for the state, already suffering from the pangs of bifurcation since 2014, as the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government is firm on carrying out its new plans for "comprehensive, parallel and decentralized development."

All other political parties and citizens at large, however, are staunchly opposing the ruling YSR Congress' move to basically relocate the state capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam, as already indicated by the Chief Minister on the floor of the Assembly on 17 December.

How the government is seeking to go ahead with its plans remains a closely-guarded secret but, given any opportunity, the principal opposition Telugu Desam is determined to derail the process by showing its strength in the Legislative Council.

The YSRC may be having a brute majority of 151 in the 175-member Assembly but it's in a woeful minority in the 58-member Council, with its numbers being just nine.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress won 151 Assembly and 22 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh. Facebook@ysjagan

With 28 members, and possible support of BJP and others, the TDP could effectively stall albeit temporarily any legislation intended to alter the status quo vis-vis the capital.

Wary of this, the government has not let its strategy known so far though indications are that it may bring in a Money Bill to foil the opposition attempts.

But the (draft) Money Bill has to be first approved by the Cabinet and sent to the Governor for clearance before it is tabled in the Assembly, government sources said.

The Cabinet is scheduled to meet at 9 am on Monday while the Assembly will convene for its extended winter session at 11 am.

Interestingly, the meeting of the Assembly Business Advisory Committee is scheduled at 10 am, where the legislative business to be taken up will be finalised.

The Council will meet on 21 January as per the Legislature notification and will sit only for two days whereas the Assembly will have one extra day.

What ministers gave everyone to understand ahead of the session, which is supposed to be a landmark, is that the Legislature will essentially deliberate the report of the High-Powered Committee of ministers and bureaucrats on "decentralised development" and take a call on various related issues, including the location of the state capital.

The HPC relied on the recommendations made by the six-member committee of experts and also the Boston Consulting Group, besides the Sivaramakrishnan Committee, while coming out with its own set of suggestions.

The crux of the recommendations, according to highly-placed sources, was that the state should have "distributed capital functions" with the Secretariat and other government departments operating from Visakhapatnam, Legislature from Amaravati and High Court from Kurnool.

The recommendations of these committees are clearly in line with what the Chief Minister announced in the Assembly on December 17.

But how to go about the business, given the possible legal and technical implications, is what is said to be worrying about the rulers.

The Chief Minister conferred with select ministers and bureaucrats here on Sunday and discussed the government's strategy, particularly on overcoming the opposition in the Legislative Council.

"The opposition could at best delay the process but not fully stop it," was the counsel offered but there has been no conclusive opinion on what could eventually happen in a court of law, as already a set of petitions are pending on the capital issue.

January 20, 2020 at 09:54AM

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