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Instead of scrapping the Legislative Council, Andhra Pradesh must hear out its reservations

The circumstances under which Andhra Pradesh’s legislative assembly passed a resolution recommending abolition of the state’s legislative council, in fact makes out a strong case for retention of such councils. 
 
The assembly had just passed a bill creating an unprecedented three capitals for AP and the council referred it to a select committee rather than doing government’s bidding to immediately pass the bill. Such a critical legislation severely impacting the state’s administration and finances merited elaborate scrutiny. Even brute majority decisions need their checks and balances.
 
The legislative council where TDP enjoys the upper hand, unlike the assembly where YSRCP enjoys an overwhelming majority, could well have been acting in a partisan manner. However, threadbare analysis by a select committee shouldn’t be seen as a drag on governance. 
 
Often parliamentary/ legislative committee reports uncover landmines that ministers/ bureaucrats overlooked. Neither can the legislative council stall a bill indefinitely: no bill passed by the legislative assembly can be delayed beyond four months. So the council must be seen as a feedback loop that helps assemblies perfect their legislations, not a stumbling block.
 
Legislative councils, like Rajya Sabha, also allow political parties to utilise the services of domain experts who cannot make the cut in electoral politics. Whether this is being practised in states like UP, Bihar and Maharashtra which have councils is another matter. Such lateral entrants would address the paucity of talent that is evident in government, both at the national and state levels. 
 
A legislative council, not held hostage by electoral imperatives, could even become a bulwark against today’s blatant populism that is wrecking state finances or governance generally. If Parliament refuses to accede to its resolution, YSRCP must rethink its decision to scrap the legislative council.

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