The task of apportioning Rajya Sabha members from Andhra Pradesh between Telangana and Seemandhra has thrown up an unprecedented challenge to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Thanks to the complication involved, a draw of lots, scheduled for Wednesday, was deferred till Friday.
As the process was sought to be taken up, several members across party-lines pointed out the risk involved in the draw of lots, which could lead to allocation of members from Telangana to Seemandhra and vice-versa. TRS leader K Keshava Rao took the lead in pushing the argument as others chimed in. Consequently, Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari postponed the exercise.
The undivided state had a quota of 18 Rajya Sabha seats, which has now been divided between Seemandhra (11) and Telangana (seven). One seat is vacant at the moment due to the death of former chief minister N Janardhan Reddy. Of the 17 seats left, nine are held by people from Telangana and eight from Seemandhra.
The 18 seats can be split into three batches of six members, each on the basis of their scheduled retirement in 2016, 2018 and 2020 in accordance with the biennial system of election. The new state of Telangana has to be given two members from the first lot, three from the second and two from the third as mandated by the AP Reorganisation Act.
However, members want to go to states of their choice since they feel a member from Seemandhra cannot represent Telangana. Moreover, Telangana chief minister-designate K Chandrasekhar Rao is not prepared to keep even government employees from the other state. Another issue is how a Telangana member would spend his MPLAD money if he is allocated to the other state.