Amidst discussions over the fate of the Telangana Bill in Parliament, hectic backroom consultations are reportedly on between the two principal parties - the Congress and BJP - on the way ahead, even as Seemandhra leaders are pulling out all stops to prevent the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, until the elections.
After the meeting of the Cabinet and the Congress core group on Friday, the task of liaising with the BJP is understood to have been entrusted to Union Minister Jairam Ramesh while the pointsman for the saffron party is its former president M Venkaiah Naidu.
According to sources, the Congress has exchanged with the BJP the amendments cleared by the Cabinet and wanted the latter to come up with suggestions, in writing, explaining against each of them whether it is “essential” or “non-essential.” This exercise is expected to be completed only by Monday, which is the why the idea of introducing the Bill in the Rajya Sabha has been deferred to Wednesday from 10th as originally planned. What is, however, certain is that until the chairpersons of both the Houses say “Yes” have it, the last word is not said on the Telangana Bill because serious doubts still exist on whether the Congress would be able to take its July 30 announcement to its logical conclusion. Among the various suggestions that the BJP is insisting on, is one pertaining to financial package for the residuary state.
The party is said to be insisting that the quantum of assistance and the period through which it would be given should form part of the financial memorandum attached to the Bill.
While a fiscal memorandum is not a must for introduction of a bill in the Rajya Sabha, it is mandatory in respect of legislations placed before the Lok Sabha.
The one aspect that is clear now is that the Bill that would be referred to the President is the one that was sent to the AP Assembly without any of the proposed amendments. If the amendments are inserted at this stage by the Union Cabinet, it becomes mandatory to refer it again to the Assembly. On the other hand, what has been legally suggested is that the Union Government proposes the changes in the form of “official amendments” when the Bill is brought before Parliament.