Chief Minister and YSR Congress Party president Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy returned to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly after nearly two years. Though he was the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, he stayed away in protest. He set foot in the Assembly only after his party won a landslide victory bagging 151 of the 175 seats and he became the Chief Minister.
The YSR Congress Legislature Party at a meeting on October 25, 2017, decided to boycott the Assembly to protest against the Speaker’s inaction against 20 MLAs who were elected on the YSRCP ticket but crossed over to the TDP. There was no response to several petitions to take action against them under the anti-defection law, the party alleged.
The TDP won 104 seats and its ally the BJP four seats in the 2014 elections. The YSRCP won 67 seats, but then defections started. The number of MLAs that defected went up to 23.
The YSRCP MLAs had also alleged that the TDP MLAs were not allowing the Mr. Jagan to talk. Adding insult to injury, four of the 23 MLAs who were made Ministers after defection were used to heap invectives on him. The Assembly sessions were being used to deride and humiliate the Opposition instead of discussing problems of the people, the YSRCP members had alleged before taking the decision to boycott.
The first Assembly session of the residual Andhra Pradesh was held in Hyderabad. The AP Assembly then got shifted to Amaravati on March 6, 2017, into a temporary building close to the Secretariat. But a change in place did not however change the attitude of the ruling and Opposition parties and the friction continued.
The ruling TDP acted tough with the Opposition. Nagari MLA R K Roja was suspended from the Assembly for one whole year against the general norm that members should be suspended only till end of a session.
Even the direction of the Supreme Court was not considered by the Speaker.
While the Opposition felt that it was justified in boycotting the Assembly and Council the TDP projected it as a lapse on the part of the Opposition. The TDP said that the YSRCP MLAs could not ignore the fact that they were elected by the people to represent them in the Assembly.
Some of the MLAs who stuck with Mr. Jagan and go re-elected said that the landslide victory was poetic justice. “The TDP lured 23 MLAs and today it only got 23 seats,” they said.