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Even one member can press for voting in House: ex-Speaker

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Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council on Saturday said the Presiding Officer would have to conduct voting on any issue even if one member pressed for it in the House.

“Seeking a division (voting) is the basic privilege of a member. Article 189, read with the Council rules 121 and 302, makes this clear. The Presiding Officer has no option to reject a member’s plea (for voting),” Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said in Hyderabad.

The TDP leader, who served as Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly in the 1990s, said this while referring to demands for voting on the draft AP Reorganisation Bill 2013.

The Bill, which provides for creation of a new state of Telangana, is currently under discussion in the AP Legislature.

Seeking division was a constitutional right and hence there was no dispute whatsoever over this, he noted.

Pointing out that hundreds of amendments were proposed to the Bill, both in the Council and the Assembly, Mr. Yanamala said detailed discussion should be taken up on each amendment if any member sought it.

“There needs to be a debate on each amendment, followed by a division (voting). At the end of the overall debate, there should be voting on the draft Bill as such. The Presiding Officer does not have the right to reject it.”

Mr. Yanamala’s clarification of the rule position comes in the backdrop of a controversy over whether or not voting was permitted on the draft Bill that was referred to the Legislature by the President last month.

While Seemandhra legislators have been insisting on voting, on each clause as well as the whole Bill, Telangana members are opposing it, saying the Legislature was not entitled to take up division.

The Legislature, which has taken a break for Makar Sankranti festival, will continue the debate on the Bill from January 17.

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