AP Legislature session to resume tomorrow for Telangana debate
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh political parties and individual MLAs are divided along the regional lines, but there is almost a consensus that the draft AP Reorganisation Bill-2013 which would create the Telangana state is "flawed".
The state legislature, which will resume its winter session from tomorrow, is supposed to debate the draft bill, referred by the President under Article 3 of the Constitution, and return it by January 23.
The draft bill was tabled in the legislature on December 16, but the debate could not start as members from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema disrupted the proceedings.
Since the constitutional obligation of expressing the legislature`s views has to be fulfilled within the time given by the President, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly are meeting again from tomorrow.
But will the House function smoothly is a key question, as parties such as YSR Congress have announced they will not let the discussion take place in the Assembly.
"Allowing the discussion on the draft bill is nothing but accepting the division of the state," the party, which is opposed to the division, has stated.
While the Seemandhra side has been insisting on voting on the draft bill, the Telangana side is opposing it, saying there is no such provision in the Constitution.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is keen that voting be held on each clause in the draft bill so that a clear message is sent to the Centre that the mood of the House is predominantly against the bifurcation.
The Seemandhra legislators, particularly those from the ruling Congress and the YSRC, have also demanded that the house adopt a resolution opposing the bifurcation. Some Congress MLAs have already served a notice to the Speaker seeking the resolution while YSRC followed the suit.
Speaker Nadendla Manohar visited Bhopal and Lucknow last week to discuss with his counterparts in the respective Legislatures on the procedure adopted on similar bills when Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh were bifurcated.
Though Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had claimed that both sides of the regional divide would be satisfied by the draft bill, it is not the case.
While the Seemandhra legislators have termed the draft bill as "unconstitutional", the Telangana side is strongly opposing the Governor`s role post-division. Telangana side is also unhappy over the provisions related to sharing of assets and liabilities, among many other things.
Seemandhra legislators are opposed to the bifurcation itself, and are vehemently opposing all the provisions in the draft bill, which was cleared by the Union Cabinet last month.
"The process and the form of the bill are deeply flawed. A new bill should be taken up after the election after a negotiated settlement satisfying all regions," Lok Satta Party chief N Jayaprakash Narayan has said.
Narayan pointed out that voting needs to take place on the draft bill as the President has sought the opinion of "the House" and not individual members. "The House expresses its opinion in the form of a vote."
The Seemandhra members of Congress are in favour of seeking more time beyond the January 23 deadline from the President, while the Telangana side is opposed to any delay.
Telangana leaders petitioned the President during his recent winter sojourn here against granting any extension.
Telangana legislators will meet tomorrow morning, ahead of the House proceedings, to firm up their strategy.
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