On Monday night, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed the contentious AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020. This comes after 17 TDP MLAs were suspended by the Speaker for allegedly creating a ruckus in the House as the bill was being deliberated. The three-day Assembly session was specially convened for the purpose of clearing this legislation based on the report of a High-Powered Committee. The bill paves the way for creating three capitals in the state- Visakhapatnam as the executive capital, Amaravati as the legislative capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital.
The bill divides the state into different zones. Each zone will be governed by a Board that will comprise the CM, a Vice-Chairman, at least one MP, two MLAs, and 4 other members to be nominated by the state government. There will be a full-time Secretary of the Board who will be an officer of the rank of a Principal Secretary and above. The Andhra Pradesh government shall notify the location of each Board and the departments that could be located in any zone.
Simultaneously, the government also repealed the AP Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014. This legislation was enacted on December 22, 2014, for the development of the state post-bifurcation with a specific area demarcated as the capital. However, as the passage of the AP Decentralisation Bill renders the aforesaid Act virtually redundant, it was necessary to repeal it.
However, the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government’s move has led to massive protests across Andhra Pradesh, with the TDP at the forefront of the opposition. Earlier in the day, the TDP MLAs interrupted Reddy when he was introducing the bill and rushed to the Speaker’s podium. They demanded that their party chief Chandrababu Naidu should be allowed to speak for more time on the bill. Moreover, they chanted the ‘Jai Amaravati’ slogan during Reddy’s speech. This prompted him to ask the Speaker to order the eviction of the TDP legislators. Thereafter, the Legislative Affairs Minister moved a motion for their suspension, which was approved by a voice vote.