Cong accuses BJP of double-crossing

The Congress appears to have squandered an opportunity to get Parliament nod for the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill with the Opposition pointing fingers at Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath for the fiasco.

The BJP had declared its support for the Bill to carve out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh but with some riders.

It wanted the UPA government to address the concerns of the people from the Seemandhra region by announcing a financial package.

Instead of engaging the Opposition and taking the Bill forward, the Minister was trying to score political brownie points over the BJP. The Congress floor managers were also ineffective in controlling their own members, including Union ministers, who were criticising the decision of the government to carve out Telangana and stalling Parliament since December.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, during a luncheon meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, had said Kamal Nath was the “most arrogant” minister she had ever seen in her political career.

The meeting failed to make any progress with the BJP insisting on a discussion before passing the T-Bill in Parliament. However, the minister was convinced that the BJP was adopting “double standards” to stall the Bill, a point he reiterated on Thursday after the Opposition contended that rules were flouted in introducing the Bill.

“This has exposed the double standards of the BJP. Now that the Bill has been introduced, the BJP is raising technical issues,” he said after an Opposition delegation, including the BJP, SP and TMC, approached Speaker Meira Kumar opposing the government claim that the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The passage of the Bill could have been a smooth affair had the government been judicious. Since the Bill was not a Constitutional Amendment Bill, all it required was a simple majority in both the Houses. This could have been mobilised as the BJP, the BSP and some other parties have favoured smaller states.

Congress leaders believe that the BJP wants to create hurdles in the passage of the Bill as it wants to side with the Telugu Desam Party, which is opposing it, hoping to enter into a pre-poll alliance for the general elections.

“The BJP is instigating the TDP and YSR Congress members to create turmoil in Parliament to stall the Bill,” a Congress leader said.

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