President gives 7 days to AP assembly to discuss Telangana Bill

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 23 Januari 2014 | 07.20

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee has allowed the Andhra Pradesh legislature a seven-day extension until January 30 to tender its opinion on the Telangana Bill. The extension falls way short of the four weeks sought by the state government, and is meant to keep alive the possibility of Parliament considering the legislation when it meets on February 5.

The Centre had earlier recommended an extension of no more than 10 days to state government to send back the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill. The reasoning was to allow the Union home ministry and law ministry the estimated 10-days to prepare the final draft Bill to be introduced in Parliament.

The demand for a four-week extension did not find favour with home ministry, as by the time this period would end on February 20, the forthcoming two-week session of Parliament would be over. Accepting the home minstry's advice to only grant a reasonable extension, possibly by a week to 10 days, the President on Thursday cleared the file, fixing January 30 as the new deadline.

The Andhra Pradesh chief secretary had earlier written to the President seeking an extended deadline for approval of the Telangana Bill by the state legislature, citing the nearly 4,000 amendments proposed by various MLAs. More recently, a revised letter was received from the state, conveying that the number of amendments sought had risen from 4,000 to around 9,000. Insisting that a reasonable timeframe was needed to study and rationalize the amendments, the state chief secretary had sought a four-week extension of the original January 23 deadline.

According to home ministry officials, a four-week extension would make February 20 the outer limit for the assembly to clear the Telangana Bill, and this would be co-terminus with the end of concluding session of the 15th Lok Sabha. "Allowing such a long extension would mean that the bill would not get Parliament's nod, thus making the creation of Telangana impossible under the current regime," a senior official said.

The creation of Telangana is seen as crucial to the Congress' electoral prospects in the Andhra, which accounted for the largest number of seats won by the party in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll.


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