Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy fired another salvo at the Congress party’s leadership over the State’s bifurcation and said referring the Telangana Bill to the legislature was only a step in the long process of division.

“The last ball is not bowled yet. I am a fighter who never gives up anything in life. I have conveyed my firm opposition to bifurcation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi) and the core committee and I am firm about continuing my fight. I stand by my assertion that I can stall bifurcation,” Mr. Reddy told reporters here on Thursday.

The Chief Minister said he expected the Assembly Speaker and the Council Chairman to examine the processes involved in piloting the A.P. Reorganisation Bill 2013 before moving it in the two Houses and to give time to members to move amendments.

Need for clarity

Mr. Reddy said there was need for clarity on the procedure to be adopted for taking up the debate since there was no precedent in the State to such a Bill. ``We cannot proceed further without examining the conventions and practices,” he added. Therefore, he had given copies of the process followed Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Assemblies to evolve the modalities.

In Bihar and UP, resolutions were moved in the Assembly for bifurcation. Bihar rejected the proposal in 1998 but accepted it in 2000. “There will not be different traditions and conventions in Parliament merely because parties in power change. We have to go by the practices,” he said in reply to a question.

Referring to representations submitted by the Telugu Desam, Lok Satta and TRS members that there was no clarity in the Bill on key issues, the Chief Minister said he would immediately send their representations to the Centre and await its response.

“President Pranab Mukherjee gave us time till (January 23) and we will try to make use of the constitutional provisions available to us,” he said.

He made light of the divergent opinions expressed by the Telangana and Seemandhra Ministers about the modalities for passage of the Bill and said these were within the limits.”

“They are articulating the concerns of people of their respective regions. They should do so without hurting those from other regions. It is for the members to convince their counterparts on their respective view point for and against division,” he said.

Mr. Kiran Reddy said that the development achieved in the last four years in the face of financial constraints, was because the State remained united.

“The State’s revenue increased from Rs.40,000 crore to Rs. 74,000 crore. How was this possible? Because Andhra Pradesh had the opportunity and strength to raise finances to fulfil its needs,” the Chief Minister asserted.