President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday gave seven more days to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly till January 30 to discuss and debate the draft Telangana bill before returning it to the Centre which promised to table the legislation in the upcoming session of Parliament.
The President’s decision came following a request from the Andhra Pradesh government which sought four weeks extension of the January 23 deadline fixed by him while sending the bill to the state Assembly.
Official sources said the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill now has to be returned by the state Assembly by January 30 with or without its view. However, experts are of the opinion that whatever the Assembly does, Parliament can go ahead with its legislative process for creation of the new state.
Sources said the state government had conveyed that the bill has been debated by the Assembly only for a few days and many of the legislators were yet to speak on it and hence extension of the deadline was required. There are precedents of giving extension of deadline to debate state reorganisation bills. The Madhya Pradesh Assembly was given extended time by the then President to discuss and approve the bill for creation of Chhattisgarh.
“We are clear in our mind that the Telangana bill will be brought in this session of Parliament. It is a commitment we have made,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde he told reporters here. Parliament session commences on February five and is scheduled to end on February 21. “Lets see if Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes the resolution by January 30,” he said.
The Union Cabinet had on December 5 given the go-ahead for the creation of a 10-district Telangana and outlined the blueprint for carving out the country’s 29th state. Telangana will comprise 10 districts and the rest of Andhra Pradesh will consist of 13 districts. Hyderabad will remain the common capital for both the states for a period not exceeding 10 years.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has stoutly opposed the proposed bifurcation of the state and said it would be detrimental to all regions. Taking part in the ongoing debate on the Telangana Bill, Reddy, amidst disruption by Telangana MLAs, said it was his misfortune that he had to speak on the bifurcation issue.
“Anybody would love to become Chief Minister. But it is my misfortune that I have become CM and got to speak on the (bifurcation) issue,” he had said. Reddy, who had openly opposed the Congress Working Committee’s July 30 resolution to split Andhra Pradesh andcreate Telangana, spoke on the floor of the House what he had been saying in public in the last seven months.
“Our CWC has taken a decision, but I am totally opposing it. It’s not in the interest of anyone,” he had said.