It's Telangana Time for Sonia But Don't Hurry, Says President - The New Indian Express

It's Telangana Time for Sonia But Don't Hurry, Says President

Published: 08th Dec 2013 10:17:55 AM

Though the Union Cabinet has cleared the Telangana draft bill, much needs to be done before T state becomes a reality and clearly, time is not on the Congress side.

The winter session of Parliament has already begun and the Congress will have to run against time to complete all formalities before tabling the bill in the session that ends on December 20. In the unlikely event of the Congress not being able to complete the formalities, it is likely to have the House adjourned on December 20 and reconvene it before or after Pongal. According to sources, the Congress has managed to get an assurance from the BJP that it would support the T bill whenever it is introduced in Parliment after the recess.

After clearance by the Cabinet, the draft has been sent to the President and he may refer it to the State Assembly and give it a time of 30 to 40 days for its members to air their views. The President, a stickler for rules not withstanding his political background, might go by conventions and process followed by his predecessor K R Narayanan who had created three states during the NDA regime.

After the debate on the draft bill in the Assembly, it would be sent back to the President who would in turn send it to the Union Cabinet which will refer it to the Law Ministry where it will be vetted before it could be introduced in Parliament. In fact, reports suggest Congress president Sonia Gandhi had made an attempt to push through the bill by suggesting to President Pranab Mukherjee that 10 to 15 days would be enough for the Assembly debate but the latter reportedly politely declined.

This is because Pranab Mukherjee does not want to go down in history as a President who had bypassed established conventions.

As the Assembly will be in session from December 12, Congress managers have already briefed State party leaders to ensure that the session is as short as possible and return the bill to the President as early as feasible. But for this to happen, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy will have to oblige the Centre.

Having come down a step and convening the Assembly on December 12, it is expected that he would — it is pertinent to mention here that Kiran Reddy's defiance of the Congress high command is increasingly being seen as an act being stage-managed at the party leadership's behest or at best, with its consent.  But Seemandhra ministers and MPs are unlikely to give up their fight. They are already contemplating resignations not only to their ministerial berths but also from Parliament in a bid to destabilise the UPA government. They hope the BJP may not support the bill if it is tabled by a lame duck government. Another threat could possibly come from UPA allies if they decide to ditch the Congress in the event of the ruling party biting the dust in the five States whose poll results will be out Sunday.

In the AP Assembly, Seemandhra MLAs will do their best to prolong the debate while their Telangana counterparts will try to do the opposite. As acrimonious exchanges, tension and ugly scenes are likely to be witnessed during the debate, an unprecedented security cover is being planned at the Assembly.

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