Indicating a shift in its stand on the Telangana Bill, the BJP has said that it does not address the concerns of people of Seemandhra.

The changed stance of the party was spelt out by party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu here on Monday at a protest demonstration by members of the State unit against the ‘unjust bifurcation Bill’ at Jantar Mantar, barely a kilometre from Parliament House. Taking journalists by surprise on Sunday night, the BJP sent out an e-mail informing about the protest. Though there have been indications for over a month that the party is unhappy over the manner in which the Congress has handled the issue, it is for the first time that the BJP has talked of the need for amendments to the Bill.

Mr. Naidu told the protesters that the Bill was not comprehensive and that amendments are needed. The shift in the stance of the BJP assumes importance as the winter session of Parliament is scheduled to resume on February 5 in which the governments hopes to push through the Bill for creation of Telangana. The Bill was referred to the AP Assembly last month by President Pranab Mukherjee to communicate its views by January 23. In light of the re-stated position of the principal opposition party, it is to be seen if the government would succeed in pushing through the Bill. Mr. Naidu told party workers that while the BJP is committed to the creation of Telangana, it is equally keen on ensuring justice to the people of Seemandhra.

Asking the government to “seriously understand the apprehensions and fears” of Seemandhra region, Mr. Naidu said, “It is the duty of the ruling party to understand the problems and then come with needed amendments and then take everybody into account and get the Bill passed.”

PTI adds: Though the demonstration had a visible presence of party leaders from Seemandhra, eyebrows were raised over the absence of State unit president G. Kishan Reddy.

When contacted, Mr. Reddy told PTI from Hyderabad that he could not attend the demonstration as he was given a slot to speak on the Bill in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Monday. He denied any difference of opinion within the State unit on the issue.