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Three factors that can stall the Telangana process

November 20, 2013 11:59 IST

Image: Supports of Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, who has opposed the division of Andhra, shout slogans in New Delhi
Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters Surya Desaraju

As the Centre moves to split Andhra Pradesh, the united-AP protagonists hope that President Pranab Mukherjee and the Supreme Court will intervene in the matter and the Bharatiya Janata Party will also play a role in stalling the formation of Telangana.

According to them, the President could stall the division "at least temporarily" because of the procedural lapses in the Centre's exercise.

Starting with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, these forces expect the President to direct the Centre to follow due procedure as enshrined in the Constitution (Article 3), and also the precedent set during the formation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.

Reddy already wrote a detailed letter to the President requesting him to "direct the Union government to seek resolution on the division of the state from the legislature as per the conventions established".

Three factors that can stall the Telangana process

Image: President Pranab Mukherjee

Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu too wrote a letter to the President noting that the "unconventional and undemocratic" method adopted by the Centre in the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was posing a threat to the "federal polity" and democracy of the country.

He requested the President to intervene immediately and direct the government of India to first find an amicable solution and only then proceed with the exercise.     

"Our paths are not fully closed yet. At some stage, the President's intervention will become certain," state Infrastructure and Investment Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, a strong votary of a unified state, noted.

Three factors that can stall the Telangana process

Image: United-Andhra supoorters wish to obtain a stay of the decision to seperate the state

Secondly, the anti-bifurcation forces are counting on the Supreme Court's possible intervention, wherein they wish to obtain a "stay" and force the United Progressive Alliance government to redo the exercise, if not undo it.

By not out rightly dismissing the writ petitions, filed challenging the Union cabinet's decision to bifurcate AP, the apex court left a window of option open.

The SC asked the petitioners to approach it afresh once the state division Bill is tabled in Parliament, giving a glimmer of hope to the united-Andhra proponents.

"There is nothing to be disheartened by the Supreme Court's refusal to entertain our petitions at this stage. We could now understand the Supreme Court's mind clearly and will get ready for the next round of the (legal) battle," TDP MLA Payyavula Keshav, who filed one of the writ petitions in his individual capacity, pointed out.

"Our senior counsel is now working on the strategy for the next battle with relevant arguments and we will fight till the end," Keshav added.

Three factors that can stall the Telangana process

Thirdly, they are pinning hopes on the BJP.

A section of the Congress MPs from Seema-Andhra region is said to have approached the BJP leadership with a 'SOS' to somehow get the Bill blocked in Parliament.

Interestingly, there is a marked change in the BJP's tone on the state division issue though its leaders deny it for the record.

"Allaying the apprehensions of the Seema-Andhra people is as important as the formation of Telangana state because all are Telugu people, all are Indians," BJP senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu observed even as he maintained, "We have not changed our tone."

"Let the Bill come (to Parliament), we will debate all the issues and express our point of view. We are here to protect the interests of all -- people of Telangana, people of Rayalaseema and people of coastal Andhra. We stand for all people," he said.

"We are not here to fall into the trap of the Congress. On everything, the Congress wants to play and take political advantage," Naidu remarked, indicating that his party's support to the bifurcation bill was not unconditional.

Besides, the Seema-Andhra Congress MPs also wish that the BJP will not let Parliament function smoothly during the ensuing winter session by raising the demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation in the coal-gate.

The stalemate thus caused will ensure stalling of the bifurcation bill, as the duration of the session is short. "We will no doubt raise the coal-gate, but seeing the bill through is the ruling party's headache," a top BJP leader said, adding that Seema-Andhra Congress MPs had indeed approached them on the issue.

"The Congress is playing all these dramas as part of its internal game," he pointed out.

On Monday, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar played his final innings (for a united state) in New Delhi, but he and other united-AP protagonists are now waiting for the last move.

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