With the Telangana Bill likely to be taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha tomorrow, BJP tonight made it clear that it will press for a discussion on the crucial legislation as it wants the concerns of Seemandhra region to be properly addressed.
Government tried to reach out to the main Opposition party but it maintained it has not given any assurance or commitment on the issue and will not allow the bill to be passed in the din.
Congress has issued a whip asking all its members to be present in the Lok Sabha and vote in favour of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, which seeks to create a Telangana state.
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BJP apprehends that the ruling party might get the bill passed in the din without holding a proper discussion and without taking care of the concerns of Seemandhra region.
“We have not given any assurance to the government on the passage of the Bill. We have told them that the concerns of Seemandhra region be addressed first and hold an in-depth discussion on the bill after bringing the House and Congress MPs in order. BJP has not given any commitment to the government,” BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu told PTI.
During the meeting of its senior BJP leaders with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, the Opposition party asked the government to put its own house in order and address the concerns of the Seemandhra region while cautioning it not to pass the bill amid din and without a discussion.
“We are for Telangana but the concerns of the Seemandhra region must also be addressed simultaneously and Congress should first put its own house in order,” Naidu said on what he conveyed to the minister during the meeting.
“We told Congress to create a proper atmosphere for passage of the bill. We also asked Congress not to pass the bill amid the din as proper discussion is required before the bifurcation of a state and creation of a new state,” he said Naidu said he conveyed strong protest to Shinde on the manner in which the bill was brought and also about selective suspension of members, while charging Congress with “mishandling” the issue and “endangering national unity” by creating such a situation.
Earlier in the day, five Union ministers from Andhra Pradesh’s Seemandhra region met BJP leader L K Advani to seek his party’s support for a package for the region following the decision to create a separate Telangana state, and were asked by the latter not to protest over the issue in Parliament and not not defy parliamentary traditions by protesting in the Well of the House and to maintain decorum.
They also raised the issue of “selective” suspensions of members with the BJP leader. Arun Jaitley later said that when the issue of their state is being reorganised, all members from Andhra Pradesh ought to be present in the House.
“Nobody can question our commitment for creation of Telangana, but, at the same time, you have to address the concerns of Seemandhra,” Naidu said.
He said since the entire development is focussed around Hyderabad, adequate financial support be given to Seemandhra region to set up its new capital.
The BJP leader said the residual state of Andhra Pradesh will not have enough money to meet the salary, pension and interest rate liability.
“What is going to happen is that Andhra Pradesh is burdened with 60 per cent population while its income will be 40 per cent of the present united state,” he said, adding that the income from Hyderabad will be going to the other side and a balance needed to be maintained.
He said while VAT collection from coastal Andhra was Rs 5,567 crore, which is 13 per cent of the state, that from Rayalseema was Rs 1,117 crore (3 per cent) and that from
Telangana was Rs 3,433 crore which was 8 per cent of the total, against a whopping Rs 31,943 crore from Hyderabad alone which was 76 per cent of the total.
“These are serious issues that need to be discussed,” he said, noting that revenue deficit of rest of Telangana, excluding Hyderabad, will be of Rs 8,407 crore.