What has changed between last month and now that Andhra lawmakers have decided to allow a debate in the Assembly on the Telangana bill? Practically nothing. They may be claiming in public that they will seek more time from the President, but the inside story is that the Andhra legislators felt it would be difficult to drag the discussion beyond two weeks. It it had commenced last month itself soon after the President referred the bill, the debate would probably have been over by now - well before the July 23 deadline. Hence, all the histrionics that we witnessed till Wednesday. Someone did some math in the Assembly lobbies. Even assuming that all the members speak in the House - for an average of 10 minutes per member - they would still have used only 2,900 minutes, approximately 49 hours. Even if the House meets for only five hours a day, the exercise would have been completed in 10 days. Which is exactly what we are going to see from now until the 23rd.
What is the level of confidence among Andhra leaders on stopping division of the State? With Parliament session having been called and the BJP said to be on board, politically there seems no hope. But, man lives on hope. One such hope, or call it a miracle, that the Andhra leaders wish would happen is some sort of intervention by the President. Their hope, or rather wish, is that the President may like to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on two counts: if a majority members of the Assembly speak/vote against division or on Article 371 (D). In such an event, the government may not be left with enough time to introduce the bill in the February session. But, for now, that’s just a hope.
When is TRS boss KCR visiting the national capital for a meeting with the Congress chief in 10, Janpath? Having received an informal invite from Delhi that he should call on Sonia Gandhi, KCR is said to be mulling a trip sometime around Pongal. The TRS chief elicited the views of partymen on the Delhi trip and they seem to have felt that there is nothing wrong in having a pow wow with Madam. But, a final word on either an alliance with the Congress or merger of TRS with it is unlikely to come out soon. Though both are expected to discuss the options, finality to the shape of a political equation will emerge only after the T bill is cleared in Parliament.
Elections in Telangana this time round are expected to see the emergence of quite a few fresh faces - those who have actively participated in the statehood movement including teachers, employees and activists and even those who have backed it in various ways.There is likely to be at least one candidate even from our fraternity - Shailesh Reddy, formerly head of a television channel and a known protagonist of T state. With over two decades of experience in both print and electronic media, Shailesh is seeking political arangetram through the BJP. Expected to formally join the BJP in the first week of February, Shailesh is looking to contest either from Chevella Lok Sabha constituency, currently represented by Union Minister Jaipal Reddy or Parigi Assembly seat. Best wishes.
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