In view of the Andhra CM’s resignation from the post and the Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to grant special category status to the Seema-Andhra for five years. Renu Mittal reports
The special status would include a tax holiday, more financial outlays as well as other sops for the divided and “aggrieved” state to get back on its feet.
The special status for Seema-Andhara is likely to be announced by the Union Cabinet.
After standing up for the government to pass the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill which creates a separate state of Telangana, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party now appears to have developed cold feet and is insisting on moving amendments to the bill in the Rajya Sabha, which is not acceptable to the government as it would mean bringing the Bill back to the Lok Sabha, with just two days left for the 15th Lok Sabha to call it quits.
Efforts are however on to convince BJP leaders to agree on passing the Bill with the government willing to make an announcement either in the house or in the Union Cabinet on the special package for Seema-Andhara.
The Telangana Bill which has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha was not taken up with the BJP and the Congress unable to arrive at a settlement on how it will be passed and the issue has been postponed for Thursday.
The government is also looking at other options on how to pass the T-Bill.
Since it is a money bill, the rules say that it has to be brought in the Lok Sabha and passed; but if a money bill is rejected in the Rajya Sabha, then it can be brought again in the Lok Sabha and passed – which would make it a law.
This advice has been given to the government and senior leaders are looking at it, but the bill has to be rejected by the Rajya Sabha for it to be brought again in the Lok Sabha.
With BJP leaders insisting on the amendments to the Bill, along with making it a Constitutional bill which would entail voting with the house needing to be in order, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath is calling it BJP’s double speak, and wants to know why the party had not moved amendments in the Lok Sabha, if they were so keen on it.
Senior BJP leaders met the prime minister to discuss the issue of amendments with leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley telling the government that he would help the government in passing the Bill again in the Lok Sabha, but the government is not willing to buy the line.
Sources say that senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu has made it clear to the party leadership that the wrong message has gone after Sushma Swaraj’s speech in the Lok Sabha which supported the government on Telangana.
He is from Seema-Andhara and wants his party to do damage control.
It is learnt that there is a great deal of pressure from Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu on the BJP to not support the Telangana Bill so openly, as that would make it difficult for him to align with the BJP in Seema-Andhara.
Clearly, his party rank and file is upset at the open and clear support. By hedging its bets now, the BJP could lose out in both Telangana and Seema-Andhara, say party leaders.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader Chandrashekhar Rao has also given strong indications that he would have an alliance with the Congress rather than the BJP since he is of the view that secular parties should stay together.