AP chief minister ups ante against Telangana bill

AP chief minister ups ante against Telangana bill

Andhra Pra-desh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Saturday gave a notice to Speaker Nadendla Manohar, seeking permission to move a resolution urging the President not to forward the AP Reorganisation Bill, 2013, for introduction in Parliament.

The dramatic move came in the midst of a debate over the bill in the Assembly.

The decision came close on the heels of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s assertion that it was determined to get the Telangana bill passed in the coming Parliament session, to commence on February 7. The Congress leadership has been consistently maintaining that irrespective of views of the State Assembly, the Centre will go ahead with the division of Andhra Pradesh. Under Article 3 of the Constitution, the opinion of the State Assembly is not binding on the Centre as only Parliament has the right to create new states.

The draft resolution that the chief minister wants to move in the House says, “The Assembly resolves to request the President not to recommend the AP Reorganisation Bill for introduction in Parliament as it seeks to bifurcate the state without any reason/basis.”

In his notice, handed over to the Speaker by Legislative Affairs Minister S Sailajanath, Reddy said the draft Telangana bill had been sent to the Assembly in “utter disregard to linguistic homogeneity and administrative viability.”

The notice has been sent under Rule 77 of the Assembly Rules and Procedures. According to sources, those opposing the state’s division might insist on voting on the resolution. In the 294-member Assembly, Telangana accounts for 119 legislators while Seemandhra has 175 members. Given the reality of numbers, any resolution on the state’s division is bound to be defeated in the House.

Though the opinion of the Assembly on the Telangana bill is not binding on the Centre, the UPA government would find it difficult to push through the bill in Parliament if it is defeated in the state Legislature. Members of the TRS and the Congress from Telangana objected to timing of such a proposal. TRS floor leader Etela Rajendra called Reddy’s efforts to return the bill “a conspiracy”.

Opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu wanted to know why the chief minister waited for so many days after debate on the bill started.

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