No end in sight to stalemate over Telangana bill in AP House

Last Updated: Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 15:35

Hyderabad: The draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill-2013 is caught in a tug-of-war in the state Legislative Assembly between legislators on either side of the regional divide.
Copy of draft bill reached the Assembly on Friday, but it could not be tabled because of the adjournment following the din created by both Telangana and Seemandhra MLAs.

Tomorrow, the bill is expected to be tabled, after which the Speaker will conduct a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee to fix schedule for discussion. However, it may not break the stalemate as Seemandhra MLAs have other plans.

MLAs from Telangana want that the draft bill be tabled in the House immediately for a discussion.

But, members from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema (collectively called `Seemandhra`) want the process to be taken up in a special session next month as the President has given the Assembly time till January 23 to express its views.

The Seemandhra legislators are seeking not just a discussion but also a vote on the bifurcation.

They have also demanded that the draft bill should be translated from English into Telugu and Urdu before discussion is taken up. As the translation may take time, it will not be possible to take it up in the current session, they argue.

Telangana MLAs, jittery over these moves, are opposing the delay in tabling the bill. They also oppose voting, saying there is no provision for voting on Presidential reference.

Indications are that pandemonium of Friday would be witnessed again in the house on Monday.

Right from Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, MLAs on the Seemandhra side are in no mood to facilitate discussion on the bill in the winter session, supposed to end on Wednesday.

They are not keen on completing the formality of returning the bill to the President within stipulated time.

"We will request the President for more time as every member wants to discuss each and every provision in the bill in detail and express his or her views," Minor Irrigation Minister T G Venkatesh said.

The Telangana side, led by Deputy Chief Minister Damodara Rajanarasimha, is not ready to allow these delaying tactics. He has threatened to move a no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister for "blocking" the creation of Telangana state.

Ministers and Congress MLAs from Telangana complained about the tactics of anti-bifurcation side to AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh during the latter`s visit to Hyderabad on Friday. In particular, they accused the Chief Minister of blocking the tabling of draft bill.

Digvijaya Singh had reportedly asked the Chief Minister to see to it that the draft bill was discussed in the Assembly in the winter session itself and returned to the President.

But the Seemandhra side is not game. "There are many other pressing issues like natural calamities and Krishna Water Tribunal award that should be discussed in the Assembly in the short session. We can have special session on the bill next month," School Education Minister S Sailajanath said.

Government Chief Whip Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy countered that there was no other important issue than Telangana. "The draft Bill should be discussed in the House forthwith, even by extending the session," he demanded.

On the other hand, group of Congress MLAs from Seemandhra, led by former minister Gade Venkat Reddy, has served a notice to the Speaker for a private member`s resolution opposing the bifurcation. YSR Congress too wants a similar resolution.

YSRC chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy has appealed to Congress and Telugu Desam MLAs to press for adoption of the resolution against bifurcation. The Seemandhra Congress and the YSRC legislators will seek the resolution in the Assembly on Monday.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 15:35

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