Speaker miffed on frequent by-polls in Andhra

Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar has expressed serious displeasure over the frequent by-elections forced by resignation of sitting legislators.

"The state has witnessed 65 by-elections in the last six years due to resignation of MLAs (for one reason or the other). This is resulting in wastage of public money on conduct of elections besides paralysing administration and causing hardship to people," Manohar told newsmen in an informal chat on completing one year as AP Assembly Speaker today.

Minutes after his informal meeting with media persons ended, two Congress MLAs - Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao of Bobbili and Alla Krishna Srinivas (Nani) of Eluru - met Manohar to submit their resignations from the membership of the Assembly.

Unaware of the fact that the two MLAs were waiting for him outside, Manohar said that frequent by-polls were not good for the country in general and the state in particular as it involved huge expenditures by the government and the political parties as well.

Both the MLAs have also quit the Congress to formally join the YSR Congress. If their resignations are accepted, the ruling party's strength in the AP Assembly will fall to 151 - just three more than the magic figure of 148. Two more MLAs - Dwarapudi Chandrasekhar Reddy and Savarapu Jayamani - have also expressed solidarity with YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and are expected to resign from their posts soon.

The Speaker said the Law Commission recommended that legislators who resign from their posts or those disqualified should not be allowed to contest afresh till the next general elections.

"The Government of India is yet to enact a legislation in this regard," he said.

It is estimated that the Election Commission spends Rs 2 crore for conducting a by-poll in a single Assembly segment; this does not include the crores of rupees spent by political parties and their candidates both officially and unofficially.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Manohar will present a paper at the Conference of Presiding Officers at Patna in September putting forth his views on the legislators' resignation issue. Since India adopted the British Parliamentary system, it should also follow the same with regard to the legislators' resignations, the Speaker reportedly feels.

This would put an end to frequent resignations on flimsy or 'emotional' grounds and avert unwanted by-elections.

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