Telangana bill not taken up in Rajya Sabha, Andhra CM quits
The Rajya Sabha could not take up the bill for formation of Telangana Wednesday in absence on consensus over amendments in the legislation even as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Reddy resigned and the state seemed headed for president's rule.
Announcing his decision to resign to media persons in the state capital, Kiran Reddy said he was also dumping the Congress to protest against the state's break up.
He then drove to the Raj Bhavan and submitted his resignation to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, urging the governor to make alternate arrangements at the earliest as he would not like to continue as caretaker chief minister.
Raj Bhavan sources said the governor accepted the resignation of Kiran Reddy, who was accompanied by about 10 ministers and 20 legislators from Seemandhra region.
A shutdown called by YSR Congress meanwhile hit normal life in several parts of Rayalseema and Coastal Andhra.
A day after the Lok Sabha passed the bill amid pandemonium and a blackout of televised proceedings, the bill could not be taken up in the upper house due to absence of consensus over amendments.
Even as Y.S. Chowdhary and C.M. Ramesh of the Telugu Desam Party and K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao of the Congress stood near the chairman's podium with posters demanding "united Andhra Pradesh" and "Save Andhra Pradesh", the house passed four bills in a row, after an agreement among parties.
Ugly scenes were witnessed when Ramesh tried to snatch some papers from Secretary General Shumsher H. Sheriff. He apologised for his behaviour later.
While the bill for Telangana was expected next, the house was suddenly adjourned for half an hour around 4.30 p.m.
When the house met again at 5 p.m, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said passing four bills was enough work for a day and adjourned the house till Thursday.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla has however assured the bill will be taken up in Rajya Sabha Thursday, as hectic parleys went on between government and opposition leaders.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu so that the bill could be passed Wednesday, but the meeting yielded no results.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath was seen holding parleys with leaders from the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party on the floor of the house.
A senior leader from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) told IANS there are a total of 32 amendments which his party wants to incorporate in the bill.
However, if the bill is passed in the upper house with amendments, it will have to go back to the Lok Sabha for its approval before it is sent to the president for his assent, and the government feels this would create more trouble in the passage of the legislation.
The amendments that BJP proposes to move include one for granting a Rs.10,000 crore financial package to residual state of Seemandhra, as it will lose revenue when Hyderabad goes to Telangana, a BJP leader told IANS.
Another amendment sought industrial concessions for north coastal Andhra, Rayalseema and backward areas of Telangana, sources said.
Special funds for setting up the capital of Seemandhra have also been sought.
Some similar amendments have also been prepared by Congress leaders from Seemandhra.
However, a Congress MP told IANS they were ready to drop the amendments if the government did not agree.
Sources from the Congress added that party chief Sonia Gandhi has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to grant special status to Seemandhara for five years.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)