Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday expressed hope the Andhra Pradesh legislative Assembly will send its decision on draft Telangana bill before the timeframe set by the President for the process to be carried forward by the Centre subsequently.
"From Government of India side, we have already decided. The Central Government has already approved division of the state into two states. Now the issue is before the Andhra Legislative Assembly.
"I am sure we are close to completing 40 days which the President has given, within the 40 days you will have to convene the session and pass this, whichever way they may want. That is for them, that is for the majority of the MLAs," he told reporters.
Azad said he was sure that Assembly will pass the Bill much before the deadline prescribed by the Government of India and the President.
"We are close. We have already had a (Assembly) session for almost more than one month. I am sure much before the deadline prescribed by the Government of India and Rashtrapatiji, I am sure they will pass this," he said.
The President had given time till January 23 for the Assembly to return the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation bill, 2013.
Asked whether the opinion of the Assembly would be taken into consideration by the Centre and what if the majority opposes the draft bill, Azad said the issue would be decided in Parliament once it is sent by the Assembly.
"Constitution says that state has to send it (to the Centre), then the Parliament has to take a decision," Azad, who was incharge of Congress affairs in AP earlier, said.
The Seemandhra members, who are opposed to division, are in majority in the Assembly.
Replying to a query on convening a special session of Parliament, Azad said the draft bill should first be sent by the Assembly.
On chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy's opposition to division of the state, he said the issue of draft bill would be considered by Parliament once it is sent from the Assembly.
"I am not saying who is opposing or not opposing. They have to take a decision in the Assembly. Assembly means passing it either in favour of it or not in favour of it. That is the power of the MLAs, whatever the majority decision. But, they have to send it to Centre whatever their decision is," he said.