Andhra Pradesh legislature rejects Telangana bill
Both houses of the Andhra Pradesh legislature, by a voice vote Thursday, rejected the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013 on creating a separate Telangana state but this may not deter the central government from tabling the bill in parliament next month.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said the resolution would have no impact on the process for formation of Telangana state as the bill was sent to the state legislature only for its views.
Digvijaya Singh, who is incharge of Congress party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, told reporters in New Delhi that the union cabinet would meet and incorporate in the bill any good suggestions made by the state legislature before tabling the bill in parliament.
Amid protests by legislators from Telangana, the presiding officers in the legislative assembly and the council announced that official resolution for rejecting the bill were carried and adjourned the houses sine die.
Speaker N. Manohar announced passing of a resolution moved by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy. In the council, Chairman A. Chakrapani declared that a resolution moved by Endowments Minister C. Ramachandraiah is carried.
The chief minister, in his resolution, has urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to refer the bill to parliament as it seeks to bifurcate the state without any reason and consensus and in utter disregard to linguistic and cultural homogeneity and economic and administrative viability of both the regions.
"Almost all the members have expressed their views in writing which will form part of official records. Proposals for amendments and expression of views in writing by the members on the clauses numbering 9,072 received from members will also form part of official records," Manohar said amid slogans by members from both Telangana and Seemandhra.
He declared that the official records would be submitted to president as views of the house. Chakrapani made a similar announcement in the council.
However, no voting on the bill was conducted as was demanded many a times by the chief minister and other legislators from Seemandhra.
Interestingly, leaders of both Telangana and Seemandhra interpreted Thursday's developments as their victory.
While Telangana leaders claimed that with the completion of the debate on the bill, a major milestone was achieved in the process for formation of new state, their counterparts from Seemandhra said with the passing of resolutions, the legislature has unanimously rejected the state's bifurcation.
Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha Thursday said with the bill being sent back to the president, their goal was achieved. "The dream of the people of Telangana will soon become a reality," he said.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao exuded confidence that separate Telangana state will come into existence in 15 days.
Finance Minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy, who is from Seemandhra, said since Telangana legislators opposed division in both the houses, the official resolutions were adopted by voice vote. "The bill has been rejected in tune with the aspirations of the people," he said.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader P. Keshav hailed the passing of resolutions rejecting the bill. He termed it as a historic development.
The president had referred the bill to the state legislature Dec 12 for its opinion under article 3 of the constitution. The bill was tabled Dec 16 but could not be taken up for debate for several days due to protests by lawmakers from Seemandhra, opposing the state's bifurcation.
The president had originally given time till Jan 23 for the legislature to give its opinion. The state government had sought four more weeks to complete the debate but the president gave one week.
Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed in all 13 districts of Seemandhra Thursday on a call given by the TDP to oppose state's bifurcation.
The shutdown hit the normal life. Shops and business establishments were closed while buses of state owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were off the roads.
(Posted on 30-01-2014)