Hyderabad: The ruling Telugu Desam Party yet again beat the YSR Congress in a political game in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today by thwarting an attempt by the lone Opposition to seek a division votes on the Appropriation Bill.
On the last day of the Budget session, the House adopted the Appropriation Bill by voice vote after Legislative Affairs and Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu asserted that there was no scope for a division on the Bill and it should be passed only by voice vote.
Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, too, endorsed this and put the Appropriation Bill to vote.
It was carried by voice vote and the Speaker immediately adjourned the House sine die.
This was a third time the YSRC was defeated in a battle of political wits by an astute TDP during the Budget session.
The YSRC issued a whip to its members last week asking them to be present in the House and vote against the Bill. The lone Opposition party’s only intention was to get eight of its MLAs, who crossed over to the TDP recently, disqualified.
After a discussion in the House, Leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy said his party was opposing the Bill and sought a division of votes.
Yanamala said the division was being sought only with a political motive and there was no scope under the Indian Constitution and the Rules of Procedure for such vote.
“No voting is allowed on the Appropriation Bill. You are seeking a division only to serve your political interests, unable to protect your own members,” he said.
“You moved a no-confidence motion against the TDP-led Government and then against the Speaker. You could not issue a whip at that time. Now, you issued a whip one week in advance without even knowing the rules. This in itself is a folly.”
Jagan hit back at the ruling party. “You are purchasing our MLAs using your ill-gotten money. You are trying to shield them. There are provisions that allow for division (of votes) on any Bill,” Jagan argued.
The Speaker said the Appropriation Bill was not connected with politics. “It is the State’s Budget. Seeking a division is not in the State’s interests. You may have some other interests that are not connected to the House.”
Kodela said he read the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure and also consulted experts in New Delhi on the issue.
“Articles 203 and 204 of the Constitution are very clear
on this. Not even an amendment could be moved on the Appropriation Bill. Even Rule 138 (1) does not permit any division,” the Speaker asserted.
He then put the Bill for the consideration of the House.
It was adopted by voice vote even as the YSRC members tried to create a din.
The Speaker then adjourned the House sine die, after announcing that the Budget session was conducted for 15 days in which 10 Government Bills were passed.
“This is moral victory for YSRCP,” Jagan later claimed.
Had the Government conducted a division (of votes) on the Appropriation Bill, the MLAs who defected to the TDP from the YSRC would have got disqualified, the Leader of Opposition told newspersons after the House was adjourned sine die.
Violation of the whip would have enabled the YSRC build a case against the rebel legislators and seek their disqualification.
“The TDP tried to protect the MLAs it has purchased using ill-gotten money. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has no guts to make those MLAs resign from their posts and seek a fresh mandate,” Jagan said.
The TDP Government, he pointed out, secured Rs 22,000 crore under public deposits but diverted the funds for different purposes.
“The state government spent the money according to its will though the Centre and the RBI did not permit. This is a crime under which Chandrababu could be jailed.”
“What more reason is required for us to oppose the Appropriation Bill,” he asked, adding the government did not show any accounts for the Rs 22,000 crore public deposits in the Budget.
“The Constitution clearly says a division should be allowed if sought. But the Speaker ignored us even after I read out the relevant provisions,” Jagan lamented.