Kiran Reddy challenges centre over Telangana bill

Hyderabad, Jan 29: With the deadline for the Andhra Pradesh legislature to send its opinion on the Telangana bill to the president ending Thursday, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy dared the central government to table the bill in the same form in parliament.

A belligerent chief minister said he would quit politics if parliament admitted the bill in the same form as it was sent to the state legislature.

Talking to reporters after both houses of the state legislature were adjourned without any debate on the bill for the third consecutive day, Kiran Reddy alleged that the central government deceived the president by sending an incomprehensive bill to him.

“The bill in its present form will not even be admitted in parliament,” said Kiran Reddy, who is strongly opposed to formation of a separate Telangana state.

With the stalemate continuing on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013, the chief minister justified his request to President Pranab Mukherjee to give three more weeks to the state legislature to debate the bill and give its opinion. He said he sought more time to expose the lacunae in the bill.

Kiran Reddy pointed out that only 86 of the 280 legislators expressed their views on the bill.

Earlier, the chief minister and ministers from Seemandhra submitted to Speaker N. Manohar affidavits opposing the state’s bifurcation.

For the third consecutive day, protests by Telangana legislators and counter-protests by Seemandhra lawmakers rocked both the assembly and the council.

Manohar adjourned the house thrice, the third time for the day as legislators from Telangana stalled the proceedings, demanding he cancel the notice given by the chief minister last week to pass a resolution to reject the bill.

In the council, Telangana legislators urged Chairman A. Chakrapani to turn down a similar notice given by Endowments Minister C. Ramachandraiah. The proposed resolution will also urge the president not to refer the bill to parliament.

Telugu Desam Party legislators from Seemandhra began a sit-in in the assembly to protest the adjournment which was continuing at the time of filing the report.

The lawmakers are demanding the speaker to take up voting on the bill and also admit notice given by the chief minister or their notice to reject the bill.

President Mukherjee last month referred the bill to the legislature seeking its opinion under Article 3 of the Constitution.

The house was asked to give its opinion by Jan 23. The government sought four more weeks to debate the bill. The president has given time till Jan 30.

The Group of Ministers is likely to meet in Delhi Feb 4 to finalise the Telangana bill. Congress leaders have indicated the bill might be tabled in parliament during the second week of February.

IANS