GoM clears draft Telangana bill, PM hope for passage in parliament

GoM clears draft Telangana bill, PM hope for passage in parliament

A Group of Ministers (GoM) Tuesday cleared the draft Telangana bill which would be placed before the union cabinet even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed hope that parliament will approve bills to reorganise Andhra Pradesh and anti-corruption measures during its session beginning Feb 5.

The GoM cleared the draft legislation to be placed before the union cabinet Thursday to pave the way for its tabling in parliament despite the Andhra Pradesh assembly's rejection of the bill.

"The GoM has cleared the draft Telangana bill. It will be placed before the union cabinet in the next meeting. The bill will be tabled in parliament," union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is a member of the GoM, told reporters.

A comprehensive bill will be now be brought before the cabinet and suggestions will be incorporated after discussions.

Following the cabinet's nod, the legislation will be sent to the president for his approval before being taken up by parliament, probably next week.

The move comes days after the Andhra Pradesh Assembly rejected the bill by voice vote.Speaking to reporters after an all-party meet ahead of the parliament session, the prime minister expressed hope that parliament will approve the Telangana bill and anti-corruption bills during its session beginning Feb 5.

"This is going to be the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha. There is important legislation which is pending for approval by parliament.

"There is important legislation relating to anti-corruption measures. There is important legislation with regard to women's reservation bill. There is important business concerning the control of communal violence," he said.

"I sincerely hope that parliament, in its wisdom, will transact the essential business which is the primary concern of any legislature in a parliamentary democracy. And, of course, there is the vital issue of Telangana," added Manmohan Singh.

The prime minister said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government wants to bring the Telangana bill in parliament for its approval.

"I sincerely hope that after a long debate extending over many years, the house will, in its wisdom, be able to transact the business and pass the bill relating to the creation of the state of Telangana," he added.

The parliament session will begin Wednesday and end Feb 21.

The prime minister's remarks assume significance as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is opposed to the division of the state, is planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the issue. The Andhra chief minister is in Delhi.

During the day, Manmohan Singh also met a delegation of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders and appealed to them that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh "should be peaceful".

"Nothing should be said or done that can inflame passions. I appeal to all that the bifurcation process should be peaceful," the prime minister told the delegation led by party chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The TRS leaders presented the prime minister with a memorandum on Telangana state, said the PMO.

YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy also wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar saying that his party would oppose the Telangana bill "tooth and nail", while Telugu Desam Party leaders from Seemandhra heckled Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh while he was on his way to the North Block for the GoM meeting. The protesters who tried to block his way were whisked away by police.

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