Opposition holds key for Bill passage

The Congress is relying heavily on the BJP for the passage of the bill to carve out a separate Telangana state as the UPA does not enjoy a majority in Parliament.

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill is scheduled to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and the government is pulling out all the stops to ensure that it gets approved.

Some Congress members from Seemandhra are vociferously opposing the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The Congress and TDP members have made a common cause and are ready to go to any extent to stall the bill’s passage.

The government has softened the blow for Seemandhra leaders by agreeing to their key demands on the Polavaram irrigation project and a financial package for the development of Rayalseema and the coastal Andhra region.  

However, their demands of making Hyderabad a Union Territory and inclusion of Anantpur and Kurnool in Telangana have been rejected. The government’s floor managers are also in touch with the BJP at “various levels” to get its support for the bill. The Congress is also mulling suspension of the unruly members, a move strongly opposed by the BJP. However, the Congress leaders hope that the BJP will fall in line.

While the UPA never enjoyed a clear majority in the Rajya Sabha, its numbers have dwindled in the Lok Sabha after key partners the Trinamool Congress and the DMK walked out of the coalition government. The SP and the BSP extend outside support to the UPA.

The BJP leaders maintained that they will support the bill in Parliament, but with certain amendments, which they will try to push through during debate in both Houses.

For instance, the BJP leaders said empowering the governor to handle law and order in Hyderabad was one of the contentious provisions they would contest in the House.

The main opposition will also not go out of the way to bail out the government from frequent disruptions by the Congress and TDP MPs, since it wants to politically exploit the UPA’s floor managers, BJP sources said.

The government may not get complete support from third front parties as well.

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