BJP today offered conditional support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the crucial Telangana bill, making it clear that the government should address concerns of the people of both Telangana and Seemandhra. The Prime Minister, who is seeking to bring about a consensus on the issue, which has seen repeated disruptions in the Parliament, held discussion with top BJP leaders over lunch at his residence.
During the meeting, that lasted about an hour-and-a-half, BJP leaders told Singh that the party was ready to support the Telangana bill as its stand on the issue was clear, but sought spelling out of a package for the Seemandhra region as well, the sources said. The Prime Minister had invited BJP leaders L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley over lunch to end the current impasse in Parliament and discuss crucial pending bills. Union Ministers A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Kamal Nath and Sushilkumar Shinde were also present during the meeting.
The sources said the BJP leaders informed Singh that their stand on Telangana has not changed and asked the government to “put its own house in order” as Congress MPs were in the forefront in disrupting Parliament. While the government and BJP were tight-lipped about the meeting, some key legislations including the Communal Violence bill and anti-corruption bills that are pending in the Parliament, were also discussed, but BJP was non-committal on its support to them.
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The sources said, while the government assured a package for the Seemandhra region, BJP sought its spelling out in the bill. They said the government is still not clear about when to bring the Telangana bill in Parliament, which has to be tabled in Lok Sabha instead of Rajya Sabha as it is a money bill.
Congress had on Tuesday cracked the whip expelling six MPs from its party for opposing the formation of Telangana. They had given a notice of non-confidence motion against their own government.