February 20, 2014

After Lok Sabha, Telangana Bill now faces rough weather in Rajya Sabha; CM, Ministers quit office, Congress

The Telangana Bill which has been passed by the Lower House, that could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, is expected to get through with BJP support as the Congress is reported to have agreed to their demands for appropriate compensation for Andhra region which stands to lose cash-rich Hyderabad.
New Delhi: The contentious Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014 adopted by voice vote along with several official amendments by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, faced rough weather in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and it came up again for passage in the Upper House on Thursday. However, TDP members opposed to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh mounted protests holding placards in the well. The current session, and the last of the present Parliament, is scheduled to come to an end on Friday.

It is expected that the Bill creating the new Telangana State will get passed with the support of the BJP, which wants appropriate compensation included for Seemandhra for loss of the Capital and other infrastructure and to sort out water, power and revenue issues.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is in favour of a special status for the losing Seemandhra to appease the vioent protesters from Andhra region as also the BJP which, wanting to exploit the situation for its political advantage on the eve of general elections, has reportedly sought a one-time grant of Rs 10,000 cr and other reliefs for Seemandhra. The party argues that Seemandhra will become revenue-deficit as it is losing Capital Hyderabad. It is planning to move amendments which would block the passage of the Bill on Thursday.

The Government wants to avoid amendments as that would necessitate sending back the Bill to the Lok Sabha again for approval, especially as the 16 suspended Congress MPs are back in the House. Moreover, the session is to come to en end on Friday and the Bill will have to wait for the new Parliament after the forthcoming election, which also means uncertainty.

There is also a thinking that the session should be extended as severral more Bills are pending passage like the disability Bill, whistleblowers Bill and the women's reservation Bill.

As part of the continuing agitation and protests against the bifurcation of the State, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, alongwith other ministers and MLAs, resigned from their office, legislature as also the Congress, on Wednesday.

In the Lok Sabha on Tuesday the Bill was passed in the midst of a pandemonium and blackout of the live TV broadcast of the House proceedings. The Government moved its official amendments after leader of Opposition in the Lower House Sushma Swaraj said her party supported the Bill. Only she and Union minister Jaipal Reddy of the Congress spoke on the Bill and it was put to voice vote. Displaying posters, members of the CPI(M) and of the Congress from Andhra stormed the well. They shouted slogans against the division and tore up copies of the Bill. Unofficial amendments were defeated by the voice vote.

Telangana will become the 29th state when the Bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha.

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