Legislators from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on Saturday strongly opposed the draft Bill, which provides for creation of a separate state of Telangana, saying it was "unconstitutional" and also a "threat to India's federal structure".
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill-2013, forwarded by the President last year, is being debated in the Assembly.
"The draft Bill leaves us to wonder if the Constitution of India doesn't apply to Andhra Pradesh. The Bill is totally unconstitutional," State School Education Minister S Sailajanath said.
Continuing his address on the draft Bill, the Minister, who hails from Rayalaseema, questioned on what basis was Hyderabad being sought to be made the common capital of two states. "If Hyderabad is common capital, are we (Seemaandhra people) tenants? Under which rule will Hyderabad be the common capital."
Lok Satta Party President N Jayaprakash Narayan, who favours statehood for Telangana, however, criticised the way the bifurcation issue is being pushed by the Congress and the legislation has been drafted.
"The only objective of the Bill appears to be securing political gains for the ruling party," he maintained, adding it threatened the federal structure of India.
"Creation of Telangana state is a necessity. It's inevitable. But the state bifurcation should happen in such a manner that it doesn’t cause bad blood between people of different regions," the bureaucrat-turned-legislator noted.
Reeling out statistics related to development of different regions in AP – and drawing comparison with states like Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir – Narayan wanted special status granted to Rayalaseema in the event of bifurcation of AP.
"Rayalaseema is by far the most backward on various parameters. It should be given special status like that of Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. If people wish, Rayalaseema could even be made a separate state with special status," he said.
YSR Congress, which had so far stayed away from the debate on the Bill, today revealed its stand in the Assembly though at the end of his speech, party MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy said they would not like to be party to the discussion.
The President had given time till January 23 for the Assembly to return the draft Bill.