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CM Kiran Reddy seeks rejection of Telangana Bill in Assembly, leaders furious

AP Minister had earlier appealed to the Assembly Speaker and Council Chairman to reject the proposed resolution.

Congress Chief Whip G Venkata Ramana Reddy said Kiran's move is against the spirit of democracy. Congress Chief Whip G Venkata Ramana Reddy said Kiran’s move is against the spirit of democracy.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has sought a resolution in the Assembly to reject the Telangana Bill forwarded by the Centre in its current form, arguing that it fails to mention why the state is being divided.

The draft of the resolution forwarded by Reddy to the Speaker says: “The Assembly resolves to request the President not to recommend the AP Reorganisation Bill for introduction in Parliament as it seeks to bifurcate the state without any reason/basis. The Bill has been sent to the Assembly in utter disregard (of) linguistic homogeneity and administrative viability.”

Speaker N Manohar will decide Monday whether to allow a vote in the House on the Bill or to send it back to President Pranab Mukherjee, citing loopholes and urging him not to send it for introduction in Parliament.

The Assembly has time till January 30 to send its opinion to the President. If the Speaker allows Reddy’s resolution and it is adopted by the House, the Centre may find it difficult to introduce the Bill in the Parliament session starting February 7. It will, however, give the Centre more time to sort out the Telangana issue.

If the resolution rejecting the Telangana Bill is put to vote in the Andhra House, it may be adopted, with the CM likely to get the support of a majority of the MLAs from coastal and Rayalaseema districts. The YSR Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party had also demanded earlier that the Speaker take up a resolution to refuse bifurcation.

On Sunday, Seemandhra and Telangana MLAs met separately to chalk out strategies. Telangana Congress MLAs met at the residence of IT Minister P Lakshmaiah, and sought the support of TRS, TDP and BJP MLAs to oppose the CM’s move. Lakshmaiah later met the Speaker to urge him to set aside the resolution sought by Reddy.

“It is unethical to seek such a resolution. Reddy is interfering with constitutional procedures and we will oppose him in the House,” Lakshmaiah said. “He did not even consult his colleagues from Telangana. Who is the CM to send back the Telangana Bill when the Centre is creating the new state?”

Taking exception to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy issuing a notice to the Assembly Speaker seeking to move a motion in the House for returning the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013 to the Centre, state ministers and other leaders from Telangana on Sunday demanded that he withdraw the notice.

“This is undemocratic and irresponsible. The notice was given on behalf of government. We (ministers) were never consulted. We condemn this. We reject this action (of the Chief Minister),” IT Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah told reporters after a meeting of Telangana Congress leaders.

Referring to Article 3 of the Constitution (on formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states), he said all the states are bound to implement the directions of the Union government. “There is no reason, no purpose, no right, as a matter of fact, for sending the Bill back without discussion, without expressing its views,” he said.

It is not fair for the Chief Minister to act in a manner that “amounts to defy the Union Cabinet, Constitution and President,” Lakshmaiah said. “We say that this notice should be withdrawn. We have spoken to many (leaders) yesterday and today. We are individually writing to the Governor, Assembly Speaker and Chairman of Legislative Council. We are also meeting Speaker and Council Chairman to appraise them about the matter.”

In separate letters, the AP Minister had earlier appealed to the Assembly Speaker and Council Chairman to reject the proposed resolution. Other Telangana leaders have also hit out at the Chief Minister, a vocal supporter of united AP cause. Congress Chief Whip G Venkata Ramana Reddy said Kiran’s move is against the spirit of democracy. “Whatever attempts are made, we are fully confident that the process of Telangana formation would not stop.” The Chief Minister, who found fault with the draft Bill during his speech in the Assembly yesterday, subsequently served a notice under Rule 77 to the Speaker for moving a motion in the House to return the Bill to the Centre. The Assembly has time till January 30 to debate and return the Bill to the President.

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