Cabinet may take up Telangana Bill next week

Reported by Sandeep Phukan, Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh

A Bill to enable the creation of Telangana may be taken up as early as next week by the government.

Top Congress sources told NDTV that the government aims to bring the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to the cabinet as early as next week, indicating that the Centre is finally working to its timeline to create India’s 29th state.

One the cabinet approves the Bill, it will be sent to the President, who will in turn refer it to the Andhra Pradesh assembly for a debate. The state assembly’s opinion will not be binding; there is no provision of a vote on a Presidential reference, MLAs can only give their opinion. But the government sees the debate as crucial in sending out the message it is pushing Telangana only after the widest possible consultation.

Sources say the Congress is prepared for a scenario where majority opinion in the state assembly will be against Telangana, but it hopes that the Bill will clear Parliament.

“If the BJP extends the support they promised, we don’t see a problem in creating Telangana,” said a senior Congress leader.

The government aims to bring in the Telangana Bill in Parliament in the second half of the winter session to be held on December 5-20, five months after the ruling Congress endorsed the decision to carve a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress leader also ruled out any immediate sacking of Andhra Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has publicly opposed Telangana and was seen to back protests against the state’s bifurcation by Seemaandhra, which includes the non-Telangana regions of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.

Sources say the priority for the Congress is to send the Bill to the assembly, where two-three weeks will be given, after which it will be introduced in Parliament. The question of any change in leadership will arise only after the assembly session, said the sources.

Source: NDTV

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