Seemandhra legislators stall debate over Telangana bill
No debate could take place in the Andhra Pradesh assembly over the bill for formation of a separate Telangana state as legislators from Seemandhra stalled the house Wednesday.
Speaker Nadendla Manohar adjourned the house thrice, the third time for the day as Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) legislators belonging to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress did not allow him to take up debate on the bill sent by the president for the assembly's views.
The Seemandhra legislators declared they would not allow any debate without comprehensive information on various issues tabled in the house.
Seemandhra TDP members submitted a letter to the speaker, demanding the government submit all information on issues like assets, revenue, employees, investments in state-owned companies, water sharing and electricity.
Meanwhile, Telangana legislators, irrespective of their party affiliations, urged the speaker to continue the debate and not succumb to the pressure from Seemandhra legislators.
Despite the decision taken Tuesday in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting to start the debate, the Seemandhra legislators said they would not allow it.
As soon as the house met for the day, the Seemandhra lawmakers surrounded the speaker's chair, displaying placards and raising slogans to oppose division of the state.
Amid the din, the speaker announced he was rejecting adjournment motions moved by the opposition. The TDP wanted a debate on the manner in which the central and state governments are going ahead with the bifurcation while the YSR Congress demanded the house first pass a resolution to urge the central government to keep the state united.
As the repeated appeals by the speaker to cooperate in smooth functioning of the house fell on deaf ears, he adjourned the house for an hour. When it reassembled, there was no change in the situation, forcing him to adjourn the house for the second time.
Finally, when matters did not improve, he adjourned the house for the day. The legislative council was also adjourned without any business.
TDP leader from Seemandhra, D. Umamaheswar Rao, said they would not allow the house to debate the bill brought in an "unconstitutional" manner. He alleged the Congress party was dividing the state for "votes and seats".
Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader Harish Rao demanded the speaker suspend the legislators creating hurdles in the debate. He said while they were prepared for lengthy debate, they would not keep quiet if the bill was stalled.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013 was tabled in the house Monday amid ruckus but could not be debated due to protests by Seemandhra lawmakers.
President Pranab Mukherjee has asked the assembly to return the bill with its views by Jan 23.
The BAC, chaired by the speaker, Tuesday decided to take up the debate from Wednesday till Friday, the last day of the winter session.
The BAC may meet again to decide on the second leg of the session after Christmas holidays to complete the debate on the bill.
(Posted on 18-12-2013)