Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley speaks on the debate on the Andhra Pradesh (Reorganisation) Bill, 2014
I am speaking on the Bill with a mixed feeling. I am indeed happy and delighted that we have been able to create the separate state of Telangana. We are fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Telangana and the fact that my party has contributed to this process is a matter of satisfaction for us.
I am deeply concerned at the fact that the concerns of the Seema-Andhra region are not being adequately addressed. I am deeply disappointed at the manner in which the United Progressive Alliance government has handled this entire issue.
The demand for creation of Telangana has been a long standing one. It has a chequered history. Hyderabad and Nizam areas became a part of India in a manner which was very challenging to the whole country. My party has a longstanding demand for creation of a separate state of Telangana.
My party fully supports the creation of the state of Telangana. It sees no contradiction between this commitment and doing adequate justice to Seemandhra. I will go back from this House with a sense of satisfaction that we have redeemed our promise to the people of Telangana.
How the UPA blundered in the whole process
The National Democratic Alliance government created the three states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. We worked towards a consensus. We succeeded in getting unanimous resolutions passed by three state assemblies. The three states were created by a process of consensus. There were jubilations around when the three states were created.
The United Progressive Alliance promised the creation of Telangana in 2004. It has waited for the penultimate day of the last session to create the state. The then home minister made a short-lived announcement on December 9, 2009. The announcement was retracted by appointing the Justice Sri Krishna Committee.
The matter was deliberately delayed. Today the problem with regard to the creation of the state has been the disturbances caused by the ruling party members including the Union ministers.
The Lok Sabha had to suspend large number of members from Seema-Andhra. This resulted in a situation where we are dividing a partly unwilling state behind the back of elected representatives from one region of the state.
Worse still, when the Bill was taken up in the Lok Sabha, the concerns of Seema-Andhra were not addressed. The telecast was blacked out. This further reduced the credibility of the decision making process. A good cause such as creation of Telangana has got a bad name because of the manner in which the UPA has handled it.
Is a Constitution amendment necessary?
Article 163 of the Constitution clearly states that the governor of the state is bound by the aid and advice of the council of the ministers. ‘Law and Order’ and ‘Policing’ are state subjects under Entries 1 and 2 of List II of the Seventh Schedule.
Clause 8 of the Bill proposes that the law and order of Hyderabad city, which will be common capital of two states, shall vest in the governor. The governor, who is an appointee of the Central government will be aided by two advisors (appointed by the Central Government) who shall advise him in the law and order functions of the state.
his is an alternative method of governance. The Bharatiya Janata Party is willing to accept this method till such time that Hyderabad remains the common capital of two states. However, can this alternative method of governance, which violates Article 163 of the Constitution as also the Seventh Schedule thereto can be done by an ordinary legislation and not by a constitution amendment?
The BJP is willing to support the Constitution amendment. The BJP wants that the Bill to create Telangana with Hyderabad initially as the common capital should be legally and constitutionally a sustainable decision and not a suspect decision.
Justice to Seema-Andhra
Article 3 of the Constitution gives to the central legislature the absolute discretion to divide a state. The Centre can even divide an unwilling state. All previous precedents have been with the consent of the state. Andhra Pradesh is a state, which is being divided without a supporting resolution of the state legislature.
It is, therefore, necessary that the Central government is more than fair to the Seema-Andhra region. Telangana, with Hyderabad starts with an advantage. Seema-Andhra has to be partly compensated. The Central government must categorically assure that since most existing central institutions are in Hyderabad, new institutions would be additionally created in Seema-Andhra region.