Even as a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday cleared the draft Telangana Bill to be placed before the Union Cabinet on Thursday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Seemandhra MPs and leaders of the Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) made hectic last- minute efforts in New Delhi to stall the Bill from being tabled in Parliament.
“The GoM has cleared the draft Telangana Bill. It will be placed before the Union Cabinet in the next meeting. The Bill will be tabled in Parliament,” said Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is a member of the GoM, after a 30-minute meeting of the ministerial panel in New Delhi.
While Seemandhra MPs and MLAs held a dharna near North Block, Reddy is expected to join them in a silent protest at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday. On the other hand, Telangana leaders of the Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders lobbied with senior Congress leaders and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that the Bill is tabled.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Botsa Satyanarayana said that just as Seemandhra MLAs had opposed the Bill in the Assembly, all Seemandhra MPs would oppose the Bill in Parliament. “There is no question about it. We opposed it in the Assembly, we will oppose it as strongly in the Parliament. I hope other party MPs will also support us,” he said.
“The bifurcation is being done without any reason or logic. The Bill has been rejected in the Assembly and leaders should consider that seriously,’’ said State Parliamentary Affairs and Primary Education Minister S Sailajanath who is leading the Seemandhra MLAs. He said the CM was scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday evening to urge him not to send the Bill to Parliament.
Meanwhile, TRS president K Chandrasekhara Rao said the Prime Minister had assured him that the Bill would be tabled in Parliament and all efforts would be made to ensure that it is passed. “While appealing for peace, the PM has assured us that the government is committed to creation of Telangana under any circumstances. He said he hoped the bifurcation process is completed peacefully,’’ said Rao.
TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, who met BJP leader L K Advani on Tuesday, accused the Congress of dividing the state just for political gains. “I have always maintained that justice should be done to both regions and a solution should be arrived at amicably. But the Congress has bungled on the issue. It is just interested in winning a few seats in the coming elections in Telangana,’’ he said.
YSR Congress Party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who decided to skip the meeting of leaders of political parties in New Delhi, reiterated his stand in a letter addressed to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumari.
“I place in this letter our party stand on the issues that are to come up during the ensuing session, more so the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013 which is among the 32 items on the agenda… It is the firm view of our party that the Bill should not be tabled in the Parliament after it was rejected by the State Assembly which moved a resolution to that effect and was carried.
Our party is of the view that it is morally not proper to table a Bill rejected by the Assembly. We have opposed the Bill and bifurcation of the state at many fora and will continue to do so even in the Parliament as we feel that the division is undemocratic,’’ he said in the letter. Jagan Mohan is scheduled to reach New Delhi on Wednesday.
— With PTI, New Delhi