Protests send Congress plans into tailspin

Protests send Congress plans into tailspin

 Caught in a bind over continuing protests in Seemandhra, the Centre appeared to be dithering on the Telangana issue as it refused to give a timeframe for executing the decision. It also remained noncommittal on bringing a bill for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh in the Winter Session.

The Centre and the Congress had earlier said the bifurcation process would be completed in six months. However, both asserted that the decision was irreversible.

Initial plan was to bring a bill in the Winter Session, but Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday said: “We have to see whether the State Re-organisation Bill could be placed in Parliament by year-end.” Shinde was also evasive on imposing President’s Rule in the state. He, however, did not see the Centre going back on creating Telangana. The Congress on Wednesday aired a similar opinion.

He also came up with a curious explanation for doing away with a time limit for a group of ministers (GoM) on Telangana, saying that it was aimed at enabling the panel to submit its report as early as possible. A Cabinet note on Telangana had proposed six weeks for the GoM to submit its report to the Cabinet.The Congress and the Centre initially wanted to bring a bill on the state’s bifurcation in the Winter Session, but intense protests in Seemandhra has taken the political leadership by surprise. Moving ahead with implementation of the decision is unlikely to be a cakewalk. “That we will see,” Shinde said to a query on the bill.

The GoM, headed by Shinde, will meet for the first time on Friday. The first two meetings will take a decision on how to go about the issue, while the later meetings will discuss a capital for Seemandhra.

Shinde said it has been proposed that Kurnool be made the capital of Seemandhra, with a high court in Guntur. “But it is a matter of stakeholders,” he said. Places like Ongole, Vishakhapattanam and Tirupati will also be discussed.

On having no Andhra Pradesh ministers on the GoM, Shinde said it would not be an issue and justice will be meted out to all. Asked what will happen if the Assembly does not adopt a resolution to create Telangana, he said the state Legislature kept such a resolution in abeyance in the past as well. According to the Constitution, a resolution was not mandatory, he said.

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