Seemandhra members stall T-Bill debate

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly could not take up the Telangana Bill for debate on Wednesday, as Seemandhra members cutting across party lines stalled the move.

Despite clearance by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) on Tuesday to let the House take the bill for debate, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress members stalled it. Speaker Nadendla Manohar had to adjourn the House twice in the day as Opposition TDP and YSR Congress members caused obstructions to stop the debate.

TDP leader from Seemandhra D Umamaheswar Rao said the members will not allow the bill to be taken for business as it was brought in an “unconstitutional” manner. Accusing the Congress of dividing the state for “votes and seats”, he said no debate will be possible without comprehensive information on various issues relating to bifurcation.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Harish Rao asked the Speaker to suspend the members who obstruct the debate on the bill. He maintained that the Telangana members “can handle lengthy debate, but cannot sit back and watch if the Seemandhra members stall it.”

With the Lok Sabha being adjourned sine die after passing the Lokpal Bill, the fate of the Telangana Bill looks more uncertain.

Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal said the effort by Seemandhra MPs to move no-confidence motion against the United Progressive Alliance government and the growing support for it has prompted the Lower House to be adjourned sine die. About 13 Seemandhra MPs from the TDP, YSRC and the Congress brought the no-confidence motion.

With no debate possible for the past five days since the state Assembly gathered for the session, it is now likely that there will not be any useful debate on the bill before the session ends on Friday.

“The President of India is arriving here on Thursday for his Southern Sojourn and we have urged the Speaker to wind up the winter session on Thursday and convene a special session to discuss the bill in January with a short break for Sankranti,” YSRC leaders said.

The bill may be a non-starter, but it has united all the warring factions within the Seemandhra block. All of them are prepared to submit an affidavit rejecting the bill.  All MLAs and MLCs will fill up the printed format.

It will then be forwarded to the President and Speakers of both chambers of the state legislature.

Soon after the adjournment, Seemandhra members met Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Speaker Nadendla Manohar and informed them that they would continue to block the bill unless a series of issues like irrigation, debt sharing, revenue etc brought about as a result of dividing the state are clarified.

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