The winter session of the Andhra Pradesh Legislature in 2015 commenced on 17 December 2015. The session will last till 22 December.
Several issues of public importance including call money scandal, drought and flooding in some districts, Vijayawada spurious liquor scandal, permissions granted for bauxite mining in Visakhapatnam Agency areas, problems faced by unemployed youth, remunerative prices to farmers etc. are likely to be discussed in the winter session. Though the session is brief, the treasury benches might extend the session by one more day to 23 December.
Some key legislations are likely to be passed in the winter session. Some of them are AP Industrial Enabling Development Act, Revenue Act for bringing down VAT on oil bunkering, legislation on the constitution and functioning of the Maritime Development Board and Machilipatnam Area Development Authority Bill.
Before going to the Assembly, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu paid tributes to TDP founder NT Rama Rao at the NTR Ghat in the morning. He was accompanied by Ministers Nimmakayala Chinarajappa, Devineni Umamaheswara Rao and other party MLAs and leaders. Telangana TDP leader Maganti Gopinath and others received Chandrababu at the NTR Ghat.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Opposition leader Jagan Mohan Reddy tried to outwit each other on the first day of the winter session. Jagan Mohan tried to embarrass the government by displaying the photos of the main accused in the call money scam seen with the Chief Minister. Chandrababu Naidu countered the Opposition's ploy of displaying placards by saying that they were behaving in a barbaric way in the House. He said that Jagan Mohan Reddy is trying to dictate terms in the House.
The Business Advisory Committee meeting was held under the chairmanship of Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao earlier before the session was started. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, YSRCP MLAs Jyothula Nehru and Srikanth Reddy, BJP MLA Vishnu Kumar Raju attended the meeting. It was decided that the call money scam will be taken up on Friday and that the Chief Minister will make a statement on it the same day.
Unruly scenes and heated arguments were witnessed on the first day of the session. There was no improvement in the House even after the House was adjourned twice in the day. Failing to take up any business, the House was finally adjourned to Friday. The ruckus began when Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao rejected the adjournment motion brought by YSR Congress Party on the issue of call money racket. Immediately after this, the YSRC MLAs rushed to the well and started shouting slogans 'call money CM Chandrababu down down...' While YSRC leaders displayed photos of Chandrababu along with main accused in the call money scam, the TDP leaders displayed photos of Jagan Mohan Reddy with red sander smuggler Gangi Reddy.
Speaker urged the protesting MLAs to cooperate as it was decided in the BAC meeting that the call money scam will be discussed on Friday. His pleas went unheeded. The YSRC MLAs said that the call money racket is of prime importance to the people of the state and needs to be discussed immediately.
As discussed in the BAC meeting, the ruling party MLAs tried to discuss Ambedkar's ideology in the House today. However, the YSRC MLAs were in no mood to discuss anything but the call money scam. Social Welfare Minister Ravela Kishore Babu accused YSRC of not allowing discussion on occasion of 125th anniversary of principal architect of Constitution of India Dr. BR Ambedkar. The opposition countered it by saying that the TDP is trying to deviate the call money issue and has even stooped to using the name of Ambedkar. Legislative Affairs Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu accused Jagan Mohan Reddy of not following procedures and traditions in the House.
Speaking to press at the media point after the house was adjourned, Jagan Mohan Reddy questioned as to why TDP MLA Bode Prasad was not questioned despite leaving with several of the accused in the call money racket abroad and returned alone. The TDP is misleading the people by raiding on petty lenders and not the prime accused. Jagan alleged that the TDP is invoking the name of Dr. BR Ambedkar to distract people's attention from the real issue. He alleged that Chandrababu Naidu was receiving benefits from land, sand and call money mafia.
YSRC MLAs R Sivaprasad Reddy and D Ramalingeswara Rao were suspended by the Speaker for two days for blocking the camera view in the House. The ruling party members pointed out that Ramalingeswara Rao was blocking the camera that was covering the assembly proceedings. The Speaker warned him of stringent action if he repeated it. However, Ramalingeswara Rao and Sivaprasad Reddy started blocking the view again. Legislative Affairs Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu moved a motion asking Speaker to suspend the members for the day.
Members of the YSR Congress stalled the House for four hours early in the day demanding to let their leader Jagan Mohan Reddy speak on the issue before Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu can make a statement.
Speaking in the Assembly on the call money racket, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said that of the 188 accused arrested in the scandal, 65 have affiliation with the YSR Congress Party, whereas only 20 of them belong to the Telugu Desam Party. He said that serious action would be taken against those linked to sexual harassment of female borrowers and that Nirbhaya Act will be applied on the culprits. A special court at Vijayawada and a special public prosecutor will be appointed for the speedy disposal of the cases, he said. A law to regulate money lending business in the State will also be taken up in this session, he said.
However, Opposition party leader Jagan Mohan Reddy accused Chandrababu Naidu on shielding the TDP leaders involved in the racket. He said that the CM knows which TDP MLA, MLC and leaders are involved but no action was taken against them. He questioned how the CM who himself was involved in the racket can make a statement on the issue in the house. Chandrababu Naidu said that the government is protecting no one accused in the case and that they have arrested the brother of a TDP MLC in connection to the case. He accused the opposition members of stalling the house since they don't want a discussion on the issue.
Nagari MLA RK Roja was suspended from the House for 1 year for allegedly making derogatory comments against Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. When Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was making the statement on the call money issue, Roja was said to have used unparliamentary language against the Chief Minister. Legislative Affairs Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu moved the suspension motion against Roja and it was adopted by the House with voice vote. Giving a ruling, Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao suspended Roja from the House for 1 year. As soon as the Speaker announced the ruling, the YSRC members thronged to the well and demanded the Speaker to give the member another chance. However, the Speaker did not budge and said that such unparliamentary language should not be used in the House and that the undisciplined members have to be punished so that no other members repeat such mistakes in the future. When Roja refused to leave the House, Speaker said he would allow Opposition leader Jagan Mohan Reddy to speak only if Roja leaves the House. After the YSRS members argued with the Speaker for 15 minutes, Roja left the House and the discussion continued. Speaking on the issue at the media point, Roja said that the way she was suspended has pained her. She denied using any parliamentary language.
Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said that the behavior of Roja is unprecedented and that he hasn't seen such a behavior in his 35 years of public life. No opposition member has approached the Leader of the House and used filthy language, he said. Even, YS Rajasekhara Reddy didn't do it, he said.
Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao tendered an apology to the people of the state for the House not being able to transact any business or take up any meaningful debates in the first three days of the winter session.
The winter session of the Assembly ended Tuesday. Opposition party YSR Congress has boycotted the final day of the session. The treasury benches have hinted that they would seek increase in the quantum of punishment given to YSRCP MLA RK Roja for allegedly making derogatory comments at Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and TDP MLA V Anitha. Meanwhile, the YSR Congress also hinted that they would seek a no-confidence motion against speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao.
Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu ruled out filling of various vacant posts in different government departments in the near future. Speaking in the Assembly, Ramakrishnudu said that notifications to fill vacant positions could be issued only after the financial position of the State improves. He was replying to a question by TDP legislator P Ramachandra Reddy in the question hour. However, he said that permission has been accorded to fill 12,179 vacant posts.