The final draft of the Telangana bill is expected to spring some surprises as the Group of Ministers (GoM) is expected to review the proposal of including two more districts of Anantapur and Kurnool from Rayalaseema that are contiguous and thus redrawing the boundary of Telangana. It is also all set to recommend special status to both the states under Article 371-D.
Having its final round of deliberations on Tuesday to fine-tune their report on Telangana and sync it with the draft state re-organisation bill, the GoM may stamp the ingenious proposal that is said to have come from the Congress high command.
The redefining of boundary, if undertaken, is expected to cause heartburn among two strong regional parties – YSR Congress and Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) — for reducing their influence in the new states.
It would give the state of Telangana, that may be called Rayala-Telangana, 12 districts instead of 10 and also increase its strength in the Lok Sabha to 21 MPs from the earlier envisaged 17 thus matching it with the Rest of Andhra or Seemandra containing rest of the two districts of Rayalaseema — Kadapa and Chittoor.
The strength of legislative assemblies of both the new states will also become equal having 147 MLAs each.
Highly placed sources also said the contentious issue of Article 371 D has been resolved and there is no need to amend it as suggested by attorney general GE Vahanvati. “Article 371 D can be applied to the states after reorganisation – Telangana and Rest of Andhra — as both regions contain a large number of backwards areas,” the source said.
Article 371-D, which was inserted through the 32nd Amendment in 1973, empowers the President to issue orders from time to time providing for equitable opportunities for people belonging to different parts of the state. This provision, which has overriding effect on other Articles of the Constitution, was brought in following agreement on a six-point formula between leaders of the state on September 21, 1973.
This formula was aimed at a uniform approach for “accelerated development of the backward areas” of Andhra Pradesh, and to provide “equitable opportunities” to different areas of the state in the matter of education and employment in public services.
Once the GoM completes the complex tweaking, the draft bill along with the report will be put before the union cabinet for a final view. But it is not expected to happen before Thursday thus leaving little time for the bill to be presented in the winter session of parliament.
Meanwhile, Union minister Jaipal Reddy has firmly opposed the move of including two Rayalaseema districts in Telanngana, saying it will hurt the sentiments of people.
—With inputs from agencies