Sensing BJP’s displeasure over Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath’s suggestion that BJP was wavering in its support to Telangana Bill, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Monday assured BJP leaders he will not blame BJP when he speaks in the House to seek passage of the Bill, sources said.
The government has listed Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014 as the first legislative item after Question Hour in Lok Sabha Tuesday.
Shinde, along with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, called on BJP leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu in Advani’s chamber to seek cooperation for passage of the Bill. The ministers conveyed the ruling party’s commitment to assurances made for justice to Seemandhra region.
The meeting came after Naidu informally complained to Congress president Sonia Gandhi that the government appears to be going back on assurances made last week.
Earlier in the day, Congress ministers from Seemandhra too met Advani seeking help. Advani is learnt to have urged them against trooping into the well of the House to protest as it would disrupt proceedings. Advani suggested that suspension of Seemandhra members over the ruckus in the House be revoked before the Bill was considered, but Shinde was against revoking the suspension, saying the MPs might again hold up the Bill.
During the meeting, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley raised potential unconstitutionality in granting Governor powers over law and order in Hyderabad during its phase as joint capital of Telangana and Andhra. Jaitley suggested a constitutional amendment but Ramesh highlighted provisions of the Bill saying it suggests ‘responsibility’ and not ‘power’ to Governor. “If government’s amendments do not address our concerns (for Seemandhra region), BJP has its own amendments,” Naidu said after the meeting.
Jaitley suggested that any fiscal incentive for Seemandhra should be built into the legislation to avoid clamour for similar incentives from neighbouring regions later, sources revealed. Shinde offered to make copies of amendments to the Bill available to allay their apprehensions.