Joining issue with the Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Legislative Affairs Minister D. Sridhar Babu on Friday contended that when the AP Reorganisation Bill was tabled in the Assembly, it was deemed to have been introduced.

Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka too in a way took on Mr. Reddy by asserting that the debate on the Bill has already commenced. Their observations assume significance in the backdrop of Mr. Reddy feigning ignorance on these two counts during an interaction with media persons on Thursday.

Mr. Sridhar Babu told reporters that the Bill was included in the agenda of the Assembly for the last three days. In accordance with Article 175 (2), the communication from the President was brought to the notice of the House. If the Bill was not sent back to the President by January 23, it is deemed to have been discussed. As for voting on the amendments, he said it was up to the Speaker to take the call.

The Centre was going ahead on bifurcation under Article 3 of the Constitution and in a democratic manner, he said.

Refuting the criticism that the Bill was lopsided, he said the President forwarded the Bill only after consulting the legal experts.

Those who did not bother to give their views to the GoM were now making an issue. If the Bill was not sent back to the President by January 23, the deadline, it is deemed to have been discussed, he added.

At a separate press conference, Mr. Bhatti said that the Bill was tabled “as and when it is referred to the legislature’’, in accordance with a decision taken in the Business Advisory Committee meeting on December 11.

He reminded that when this decision was taken the Chief Minister was also present in the House.

“We leave his latest remarks to his wisdom,” he said adding that there was no scope for personal likes or dislikes on such crucial issues.

Meanwhile, three letters addressed to the Speaker by various legislators, including Lok Satta Party MLA Jayaprakash Narayan seeking more details on the AP Reorganisation draft Bill, 2013 were forwarded by the Chief Minister’s Office to Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty.

The legislators sought Statement of Objects and Reasons for the draft Bill and a financial memorandum as the bifurcation entailed allocation and deployment of funds and thirdly information based on which GoM has taken certain decisions. They contended that the draft Bill in the present form was incomplete for them to take part in the discussion.

The Chief Secretary in turn addressed a letter to the Union Home Secretary seeking details as sought by legislators and it was served to Home Ministry officials.