The Centre will table the Telangana Bill in the coming session of Parliament beginning February 5, notwithstanding Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s request for more time to discuss the separate statehood legislation in the state Assembly.
As the decision of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, either way, is not mandatory, the Central government will go ahead with its decision to create Telangana by tabling the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in the ensuing Parliament session, official sources said. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has already declared the Central government’s intention to table the Telangana bill in the next session of Parliament.
“We are clear in our mind that the Telangana bill will be brought in this session of Parliament. It is a commitment we have made,” Shinde had said.
Parliament session commences on February five and is scheduled to end on February 21. This will be the last session of Parliament before the tenure of the UPA-II comes to an end.
Reddy’s letter to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking extension of the deadline for discussing and returning the statehood Bill has been termed by Home Ministry officials as time buying tactic of the CM.
The GoM, set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, is likely to meet on February 4 to articulate the government’s view for recommending to President Pranab Mukherjee the next course of action.
The Chief Minister had on Tuesday written to the President seeking extension of the January 30 deadline during which the Andhra Pradesh Assembly will have to discuss and return the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to the Central government with or without its view.
However, experts are of the opinion that whatever the Assembly does, Parliament can go ahead with its legislative process for creation of the new state. The President initially gave time till January 23 to the state Legislature to discuss the Bill and return it but subsequently extended the deadline till January 30 after the Andhra Pradesh government sought four weeks extension.
On Tuesday, Reddy said he has written to the President on the issue but did not specify how much time was sought. The Chief Minister and members of his council of ministers, barring two, and MLAs from Seemandhra region on Wednesday submitted ‘affidavits’ opposing bifurcation of the state.
The Ministers and MLAs submitted their affidavits to Speaker Nadendla Manohar with a request to forward those to the President even as proceedings of the Legislative Assembly were washed out for the third straight day amid ruckus created by legislators, deeply divided along regional lines.
A defiant Chief Minister has accused the Centre of “deceiving” the President by sending a bill which is not comprehensive.
“I challenge them to put the same bill, which they have referred to us, in Parliament. If it is accepted, I will quit politics,” Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad. “The President doesn’t scrutinise the bill. It’s the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Law Ministry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the rebellion in Congress ranks over Telangana bifurcation in Andhra Pradesh spilled out in the Rajya Sabha nomination with eight contestants filing papers for six vacancies with two Congress rebels in fray. In a major setback to the ruling Congress, the nominations of both the Congress rebel candidates -- Chaitanya Raju and Adala Prabhakar Reddy – have been held valid by the returning officer-cum-assembly secretary Raja Sadaram.
—With agency inputs