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Rediff.com  » News » Andhra CM stalls Telangana Bill, UPA government in a fix

Andhra CM stalls Telangana Bill, UPA government in a fix

January 29, 2014 14:37 IST

The Group of Ministers on Telangana will meet in the first week of February to decide on the Centre's next course of action after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy sought extension of the deadline for discussing and returning the statehood Bill.

The GoM, set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, is likely to meet on February 4 to articulate the government's view for recommending to President Pranab Mukherjee the next course of action, official sources said.

The GoM is headed by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

The move comes after the chief minister wrote to the President, seeking extension of the January 30 deadline, during which the Andhra Pradesh Assembly will have to discuss and return the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to the central government with or without its view.

However, experts are of the opinion that whatever the assembly does, Parliament can go ahead with its legislative process for the creation of the new state.

The President initially gave time till January 23 to the state legislature to discuss the Bill and return it but subsequently extended the deadline till January 30 after the Andhra Pradesh government sought an extension for four weeks.

On Tuesday, Reddy has said he has written the letter to the President but did not specify how much time was sought. Sources close to him said an additional three weeks were sought by the state government.

Reddy's move came after the Seemandhra ministers and Members of Legislative Assembly, at a meeting with him, decided to seek additional time citing frequent disruptions in the assembly.

So far, only 90 MLAs, including the chief minister, have spoken on the Bill and expressed their views while some others gave their opinion in writing.

But most of the assembly time was lost in disruptions by either the Seemandhra or the Telangana legislators on one demand or the other.

There is no immediate indication about the GoM's next course of action as the government has already declared its intention to table the Telangana bill in the coming session of Parliament on February 5.

"We are clear in our mind that the Telangana bill will be brought in this session of Parliament. It is a commitment we have made," Shinde had said.

The Parliament session commences on February 5 and is scheduled to end on February 21. This will be the last session of Parliament before the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance comes to an end.

The Union Cabinet had on December 5 given the go-ahead for the creation of a 10-district Telangana and outlined the blueprint for carving out the country's 29th state.

Telangana will comprise 10 districts and the rest of Andhra Pradesh will consist of 13 districts. Hyderabad will remain the common capital for both the states for a period not exceeding 10 years.

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister has stoutly opposed the proposed bifurcation of the state and said it would be detrimental to all regions.

Reddy, who had openly opposed the Congress Working Committee's July 30 resolution to split Andhra Pradesh and create Telangana, spoke on the floor of the House.

"Our CWC has taken a decision, but I am totally opposing it. It's not in the interest of anyone," he had said.

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