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Updated: December 14, 2013 03:23 IST

High drama in A.P. Assembly over Telangana Bill

Special Correspondent
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The Andhra Pradesh Assembly was the centre of high-voltage political action on Friday with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Telangana leaders jockeying for advantage on the introduction of the A. P. Reorganisation Bill, 2013, which finally reached the House and will be tabled on Monday.

Both sides tried to outmanoeuvre each other with Telangana leaders threatening to haul up Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty for breach of privilege and Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha seeking a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party to replace Mr. Reddy. Finally, the Chief Minister had his way because the Bill reached the Legislature Secretariat after the House was adjourned amid chaotic scenes in the afternoon.

As tempers ran high in the Telangana camp, a restive Deputy Chief Minister called Mr. Mohanty on telephone and demanded to know why the Bill was not being sent to the Assembly. Mr. Mohanty assured him that it would reach the legislature in an hour.

Complaint to Speaker

As the wait prolonged, Telangana leaders lodged a complaint with Speaker Nadendla Manohar that a deliberate attempt was being made by Mr. Reddy to delay tabling of the Bill.

They also trooped into the Chief Minister’s chambers and demanded that the Bill be introduced immediately.

The presence of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh in the city only aggravated matters with these leaders calling him on to express their anger at the turn of events. Mr. Raj Narasimha told reporters that Ministers and MLAs from Telangana had lost confidence in the Chief Minister and were seeking convening of a meeting of the CLP immediately. Mr. Singh, however, said he did not receive any request for replacement of the Chief Minister.

A relieved lot

Even as the drama was unfolding, Seemandhra leaders appeared a relieved lot following the statement by the Chief Minister that Article 371 (D) needed an amendment through a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Sources said Mr. Reddy remarked that the Centre had ‘air-dashed’ the Bill at ‘jet speed’ but its return to the Centre would be like the flight of ‘Mangalyaan’ which would take months to reach Mars.

He said it might not be easy for the Centre to pass the Bill in Parliament as there were several flaws in it.

The House is likely to conclude on December 18 as the Chief Minister is expected to lead an all-party delegation to the Prime Minister on the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal’s award on December 19 and 20.

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