ESCALATING its confrontation with the Centre over the decision to carve a separate state of Telangana, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly Thursday passed a resolution to reject the AP Reorganisation Bill, 2013 that seeks to divide the state.
Although the Assembly decision is not binding on the Centre which is preparing to table the Bill in Parliament, Seemandhra MLAs claimed a moral victory while Telangana MLAs celebrated that the row over the Bill was finally over and that focus would shift to Parliament where it will be introduced in the session starting February 7.
Speaker Nadendla Manohar, who until Thursday morning resisted pressure from Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to seek a voice vote on the resolution moved by him to reject the Bill, gave in amid chaotic scenes and declared the resolution passed without even waiting for the 159 Seemandhra MLAs present in the house to say ‘aye’.
It was all over even before the Telangana MLAs could get their act together to prevent the voice vote. In less than 30 seconds, the Speaker adjourned the house sine die and Seemandhra MLAs immediately formed a protective ring around Manohar to shield him from the ire of Telangana MLAs.
Manohar said he would send to the President of India a compilation of 9,072 suggestions and amendments he received in writing from members, including 87 members who had spoken on the Bill in the house, along with the resolution rejecting the Bill.
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“Almost all the members have submitted their views in writing on the Bill. All this is official record which I will send to the President. The government resolution passed today will also be sent to the President,” Manohar said.
Sources in the Congress said the outcome in the Assembly was the a result of the backroom manoeuvering started Thursday morning after the Speaker refused to budge the CM’s resolution to reject the Bill.
In between adjournments, the CM and several Seemandhra MLAs prevailed upon him with the argument that since he was anyway sending the views expressed by almost all the members to the President, he should also move the CM’s resolution and send it too so that the stalemate could end.
The Speaker, it is learnt, reluctantly agreed to this.
Telangana MLAs put up a brave front and said what happened in the Assembly had no meaning as the Centre would table the Bill in Parliament anyway, and even distributed sweets to celebrate the end of the discussion in the Assembly and the Bill going to Parliament.
Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha said the CM’s political drama had ended. “As soon as the Bill is passed in Parliament by February 15, the CM should quit politics as he claimed he would do,” Rajanarasimha said.
Telangana leaders, including TRS president K Chandrasekhara Rao, sought to calm tensions in Telangana by assuring people that the resolution in the Assembly would have no effect on the Bill being passed in Parliament.
“I request people not to get carried away by today’s developments. The Centre has assured us that the bill would be tabled in Parliament on or after February 7 and by February 15, the dream of Telangana state would be realized. After all the drama, Seemandhra MLAs and the chief minister will have no place to hide their faces as Telangana would soon become a reality,” Rao said.