Predictably, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has not played ball to the YSRC move to creating three capitals to replace Amaravati — legislative, executive and judicial — which, de facto, minus the optics on decentralisation of administration, comes down to making Visakhapatnam the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, a move the editorial board of this paper has welcomed in this space already.
However, the detention of the leader of the Opposition and former three-time chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu when he wished to take his party’s dissent over the move to the people and stand in support of the protest by farmers in Amaravati, is highly condemnable. That a leader of his stature was detained, made to board a vehicle and driven over bumpy roads, at a level of security below which he is entitled to, is hardly democratic. In the AP legislative council, where the TDP holds a numerical edge over the ruling YSRC, the Opposition was within its rights to delay the tabling of the bill, seeking a debate, and other dilatory tactics aimed at delaying the inevitable. After a debate on Rule 71, the TDP may either muscle given its majority in the legislative council to delay any action — India’s de facto equivalent of a filibuster — or send it back to the Assembly for reconsideration. If the council resorts to the former, the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government can prorogue the House and seek to pursue the ordinance route.
Either way, both parties have every right to pursue their political agendas and assert their respective legislative strengths. But when legislative confrontations result in undemocratic quelling of the weaker side by the government, armed and executed by a high-handed police, it will be the end of democracy.
Mr Reddy as chief minister is doing the right thing on the issue of capitals, but he must also be guarded against not doing it the wrong way.