From the looks of it, the Union Government is set to bypass the requests of N Kiran Kumar Reddy, the Andhra Chief Minister, regarding more time for discussing the issue of separate statehood to be given to the Telangana region in the Andhra assembly. It is expected to present the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill at the parliamentary session that will take place on February 5. In any case, the Indian government is not obliged to follow any decision taken by the Andhra state administration pertaining to the matter of statehood for Telangana. Experts are of the opinion that the Parliament has the authority to go ahead and create the new state of Telangana even if it were opposed by Andhra Pradesh government. Sushilkumar Shinde, the Union Home Minister, has stated that the government intends to go ahead with this presentation since it is a commitment on its part.
The said parliamentary session will end on February 21. Incidentally, this session is also going to be the final one before the upcoming assembly elections. The Andhra CM had sent a letter to Pranab Mukherjee requesting for more time to discuss the contentious issue but officials in the Home Ministry feel it is just a ploy to buy some time. The Group of Ministers that has been entrusted with the responsibility of executing the bifurcation is expected to have a meeting on February 4 to discuss the recommendations, supposed to be provided regarding the Telangana issue, to the President.
The initial deadline for the Andhra government to look into the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill was January 23 and was extended till January 30 by the President after the state assembly sought an extension of almost a month. They were supposed to have studied the bill, discussed it and then returned the same with their views or without the same by the latest deadline.
The Andhra government, meanwhile, is making its best efforts to stop the bifurcation of the state. The CM along with all the members of his ministerial council, with the exception of a couple, and Seemadhara MLAs have submitted affidavits to Nadendla Manohar, the Speaker, against the division of the state and have requested that they be sent across to the President. The proposed division has also affected the Andhra assembly as it has not been able to function normally even as several legislators, who have their regional agendas, have created severe hindrance.
The extent of problem surrounding this division could be gauged from the fact that the Andhra CM has alleged that the Centre is being fraudulent with Pranab Mukherjee on the issue and has sent a bill that is not as detailed as the one that has been sent to the state administration. Reddy has, in fact, challenged the Central Government to table the same bill in Parliament as well. He has stated that if it meets with approval over there he will bid goodbye to the political domain. In fact, the incensed CM has heaped responsibility for this situation on the Law Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs considering the fact that the bill is analyzed by them and not the President.
The issue of Telangana bifurcation has, in fact, spilled over to the Rajya Sabha nomination procedures. 8 candidates have filed their papers for 6 available spots and 2 among them – Adala Prabhakar Reddy and Chaitanya Raju – have rebelled against the Congress, which is sure to be a major problem for the ruling party of India. What has compounded the problem for Congress is that Raja Sadaram, the assembly secretary and officer, who has recently returned to the said post, has validated their applications.
One thing can be said for certain – the Congress will try its level best to make sure the Telangana Bill is passed before the ensuing assembly elections. This will ensure that it gets a substantial amount of votes from the newly created region but on the other hand, its votes in Andhra Pradesh will be severely diminished as well. However, considering how it has fared in the state level elections in 2013 and the looming threat of Narendra Modi that only grows bigger with every passing day, Congress will be willing to try out any and every option available to itself so as to try and salvage the situation somewhat.