Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Sunday called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Nilayam here triggering speculation about the purpose of his visit.
The 30-minute long meeting was termed as courtesy call by the Chief Minister’s office but political parties were quick to accuse him of meeting the President apparently to seek additional time for the debate on the AP Reorganisation Bill 2013 that was tabled in the State legislature last week.
Although the draft Bill has been tabled in the two Houses, the debate has not yet been initiated. The House will resume its sitting from January 3 and is expected to give its opinion by January 23. The draft Bill will be sent to the President latest by January 26. Within minutes of the Chief Minister’s meeting with the President, vernacular TV channels ran scrolls of how the former brought issues relating to bifurcation and several lacunae in the Bill. These include issues such as river water sharing, national project status for Polavaram, submergence of villages in Bhadrachalam division and Hyderabad as common capital.
After the Chief Minister returned to the Camp office, pictures of his calling on the President were released to the media. But a little later his PRO sent mails to all the media houses stating that the Press Secretary to the President of India desired not to publish them “as it was a private visit”.
Sources said after Mr. Reddy’s visit, a delegation of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) led by MPs G. Vivekananda, Manda Jagannath and former Minister G.Vinod called on the President. Apart from urging him to expedite the process for creation of Telangana by referring the Bill to Parliament without any delay, they reportedly complained that the Chief Minister’s entire effort now was to stall the debate over the draft Bill in the Legislature. They also alleged that he was trying to seek additional time for the debate and termed it objectionable.
Apparently the President’s office wanted to avoid any controversy over his meeting with the Chief Minister and insisted that the photos should not be published.