Telangana deadline today, Kiran Reddy challenges his own party
New Delhi – The Centre’s Telangana plan faces a big test today in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, where a majority of MLAs are inclined to back Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s resolution to reject the bill that creates the new state. Soon after it began work, the assembly was adjourned for an hour due to disruptions. Heavy security has been posted outside the assembly building today.
President Pranab Mukherjee’s extended deadline for the assembly to return the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill ends today. Sources say he may grant an extension of a few days to avoid an embarrassment for the government. 57 legislators, including the Chief Minister, have written to the President asking for three more weeks for a detailed discussion.
157 MLAs have given affidavits affirming that they are against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh for the creation of Telangana. They are pressing for a vote on the Chief Minister’s resolution rejecting the Telangana bill. Pro-Telangana MLAs are, however, prepared to block it.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has said he will quit politics if the bill is introduced in its current form in Parliament.
If the bill is rejected by the state assembly, it will be challenging for the President to clear it for discussion and vote in Parliament in the session that starts on February 5. The Congress will also find it hard to muster support among other parties to push the bill through.
An extension of the deadline by the president could affect the Centre’s time-table for passing the bill that proposes to divide Andhra Pradesh and turn the 10 districts of Telangana into India’s 29th state.
This is the last time that Parliament will meet before the national elections, so if the Telangana proposal is not cleared, Andhra Pradesh will be undivided for the national polls.
That will rescue politicians like the Chief Minister who belong to the non-Telangana regions of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra, which will form the residuary state.
A Group of Ministers will meet on February 4 to discuss the road ahead after the bill is returned by Andhra Pradesh.
Residents of “Seemandhra” as the two regions are together referred to, are worried about receiving less water and power than they have so far.
Telangana has been arguing for decades that its resources are unfairly exploited by Seemandhra.