Statehood bill likely for state assembly by Nov 25th

The UPA government, which has expedited the process of state bifurcation, has indicated to the Seemandhra Congress delegation led by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to Delhi that it is planning to send the draft T-bill to the State Assembly by Nov 25.

The AICC leadership has also informed the Seemandhra leaders that it wants to introduce the bill either on Dec 9, the birthday of AICC supremo Sonia Gandhi, or Dec 10, in the Lok Sabha during the ensuing winter session of Parliament.

Sources privy to the happenings in Delhi on the T-front told Express that the Centre wants to complete the process of consultations on bifurcation with all stakeholders by November 18, the day when the Group of Ministers (GoM) will have its final meeting with Union ministers from Seemandhra.

After that the GOM is expected to submit its report to the Union Cabinet and later the Cabinet will send the draft bill to President Pranab Mukherjee. The President is likely to refer the bill to the AP Assembly by Nov 25.

According to sources, the date of the Assembly special session will be decided based on the timeframe set by the President.

Sources said though the T-bill is referred to the Assembly only for eliciting its views, the Congress high command is mulling over holding voting on the same depending on the situation/mood of the House so as not to give any scope for its T-decision to be caught in a legal tangle.

It is learnt that the AICC leadership has already persuaded as many as 32 of its MLAs from Seemandhra, who belong to weaker sections, to vote for the T-bill in case voting is held.

“As bifurcation of AP helps leaders from downtrodden classes occupy the seat of power in the residuary State of AP, several Congress legislators from weaker sections are ready to back the T-bill in the House,” a senior minister told Express.

According to him, the line of thinking of the Congress high command is that if the T-bill is put to vote in the Assembly, it would be easily passed with the support of 119 MLAs from Telangana, along with another 32 legislators from Seemandhra as the present strength of the House is only 279.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy appears to be softening his stance on the T-issue after counselling by his Delhi bosses.

Kiran said that per se he is not against formation of Telangana state. But, he wanted the Centre to take forward the T-process only after addressing the issues arising out of division of AP.

“I am not opposing according statehood to Telangana. But, what I say is that if the state is divided, people of Telangana would be more affected when compared to their Seemandhra counterparts,” he said after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Saturday.

Some of Kiran Reddy’s close aides say though for record’s sake the Chief Minister has reiterated his Samaikyandhra stance, he is gradually falling in line in after reconciling himself to the fact that formation of T-state is just a matter of time.

Source: The New Indian Express

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