President Pranab Mukherjee extended the deadline for the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to return the Telangana Bill to the Centre by seven days. Andhra has to now clear the Bill by January 30. The Andhra Assembly had sought four more weeks to discuss and debate the draft. Earlier, Pranab had given time till January 23.
The President asked the Home Ministry to inform the state Assembly that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill now has to be returned by January 30 with or without its view. However, experts are of the opinion that the Parliament can go ahead with its legislative process for creation of the new state irrespective of what the state Assembly does. Sources said the state government had conveyed that the Bill has been debated only for a few days and many of the legislators are yet to speak on it, hence extension was sought.
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,” said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
The Bill is likely to be brought before the Parliament which starts session on February 5 and is scheduled to end on February 21.
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 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 CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy has stoutly opposed the proposed bifurcation of the state and said it would be detrimental to all regions.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.