The T Bill is likely to be passed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Though the government listed it in the supplementary list of business on Wednesday, it could not be taken up for consideration as the BJP played hardball.
According to sources, the party is demanding that financial package for Seemandhra be included in the bill and the question of Constitutional validity of special powers to the Governor be addressed. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tried to convince Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and BJP senior leader Venkaiah Naidu not to press for amendments and promised to “consider” their demands.
The BJP is learnt to have asked for a written assurance from the government that its demands would be and have been considered. The letter is likely to mollify the BJP, as it also wants to be seen as having played a key role in not just the formation of Telangana but also addressing the concerns of Seemandhra.
BJP sources said Naidu has been pressing for inclusion of financial package in the bill. Alternatively, the party has proposed that he be allowed to raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha. “The government should agree to Naidu’s demands and announce the package after giving him due credit,” the sources said. The government may be ready to give an assurance but will not agree to an amendment.
The UPA’s argument is that if fresh amendments are brought in the Rajya Sabha, the bill has to be sent back to the Lok Sabha again. If the bill is passed in the Upper House on Thursday with amendments, it will go back to the Lok Sabha on Friday — the last day of the Parliament session. The same day suspended MPs will return to the House.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, asked the Prime Minister to grant special category status to Seemandhra for five years. Her demand came, interestingly, after the Prime Minister along with Ministers Kamal Nath, Sushilkumar Shinde and Jairam Ramesh met Jaitley and Naidu. If amendments are made in the Rajya Sabha, the session will likely be extended.