BJP falls into Congress Telangana Bill trap

BJP falls into Congress Telangana Bill trap

Walking into a political trap laid by the Congress, the BJP on Tuesday gave up its demands and supported the UPA government to pass the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill amidst chaos and without pressing for a single amendment, owing to suspicion that any resistance would invite charges of scuttling the creation of the Telangana state.

The BJP had claimed till Monday evening that it was all for the creation of Telangana, but with certain riders: It won’t help pass the bill amid din, and wanted the concerns of the Seemandhra region addressed by giving them an adequate financial package. It also sought Constitutional amendment for empowering the governor to handle law and order of Hyderabad.

During their last-minute confabulations with the two government emissaries—Union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Jairam Ramesh—BJP top brass L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu had sought these commitments.

But  the party’s stand was different inside Lok Sabha, when the motion for discussion on and passing of the AP Reorganisation bill was moved by Home Minister Shinde.
After the T-Bill was passed, Lok Sabha Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj told reporters: “We are satisfied. We have fulfilled our promise of Telangana, as the biggest thing for a party is its credibility.” 

Swaraj said that till Tuesday morning the UPA government only wanted to move the motion for discussion on legislation and put the blame on the BJP for not helping to get it passed. “When we saw their game, their bluff, we changed our line and decided to support the bill even amid din,” she said.

Responding to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath’s criticism on the BJP’s double standards, as he said that Swaraj had criticised as well as supported the bill, she said she was criticising the way the government had handled the bill and supported it in getting the House's nod.

She also accepted that the BJP could not seek any amendments in the bill as the party did not believe it was introduced in the House. Besides, some of it was also incorporated by the government during the consensus-building exercise.

The BJP, along with five other opposition parties, had complained to Speaker Meira Kumar about the manner in which the Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha. The BJP will, however, move amendments in Rajya Sabha.

Rubbishing Union minister Jaipal Reddy’s charge in the House that Advani was not for the creation of Telangana, she said Advani was only pained and could not digest the ugly scenes among which the bill was debated and passed. 

She also questioned the UPA’s decision to table the bill in the last week of the last parliamentary session of their tenure. The BJP, she said, was not in the credit-taking race.

During her speech in Parliament on the bill, Swaraj, however, had asked the people of Telangana in a lighter vein asked to give credit to “Sonia Amma” but not to forget “Chinna Amma” (Swaraj herself) for making the bifurcation possible.

She also criticised the blacking out of the Lok Sabha live coverage of the bill's discussion.  

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