Debate to be held in three sessions till January 23

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Assembly decided on Tuesday to extend the winter session by two days till December 20 to facilitate initiation of a debate on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013.

The debate, which is expected to be a marathon affair with every MLA getting a chance to speak and voting likely on each amendment, will take place in three sessions. It will begin on Wednesday and continue till Friday and resume after a break for Christmas holidays from January 3 to 10.

After a second four-day recess for Sankranti, the debate will recommence on January 15 or 16 and go on till January 23, the deadline fixed by President Pranab Mukherjee for the return of the bill. Speaker Nadendla Manohar is expected to announce a detailed schedule in the House on Wednesday.

The BAC meeting passed off without any fireworks — as anticipated with leaders divided on regional lines — barring minor arguments between some members of the Opposition and the Government represented by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Ministers Anam Ramnarayan Reddy and D. Sridhar Babu.

Apparently, some backroom consultations between Seemandhra and Telangana leaders before the BAC meeting ensured its smooth conduct. The sticking point as articulated by the Chief Minister — that the Assembly should utilise the full 42-day period for an exhaustive debate — was accepted while accommodating the Telangana leaders’ view that the discussion should begin on Wednesday.

Telugu Desam deputy leader, Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu, and YSRCP leader, Y.S. Vijayamma, walked out a few minutes before the two-hour-long meeting came to an end, both demanding the adoption of a resolution before the debate begins on the bill.

Government Chief Whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy told the media that the Speaker was perusing the Assembly procedure adopted during the formation of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand for adopting the same method here.

Though the BAC meeting was to take place on Monday itself, it could not be convened as the Seemandhra TDP MLAs were protesting inside the Speaker’s chambers.

Inconclusive

The BAC meeting of the Council was inconclusive, with Telangana members insisting on taking up a discussion on the bill straight away, those from Seemandhra sought time to study the Bill first.