Every member will get time to speak on the issue, says Kiran

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday granted one more week to the State Legislature to debate on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill up to January 30.

A communication sent by the President was read out in the House on Thursday by the Legislature Secretary S. Rajasadaram on the direction of Speaker Nadendla Manohar.

The message said the State government had considered it expedient to seek further time till February 20 for the Legislature to express its views on the Bill. However, he was allowing time only till January 30 “considering the need for expeditious introduction of the Bill in Parliament”.

Earlier, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy also informed the House about the extension of the deadline on debate till January 30 when members from Telangana obstructed his speech, on the ground that he made a false claim about no coal supplies to power projects in coastal districts from Singareni Collieries.

Mr. Reddy asked them to raise their objections leisurely after he wound up his speech because there was no more time constraint on the House as the President had extended the time limit set earlier.

High drama

Preceding the receipt of communication on extension, high drama was witnessed in the Assembly lobbies when the Chief Minister suddenly summoned his Seemandhra colleagues for a meeting. As word from Rashtrapathi Bhavan got delayed, there was tension in his camp. In fact he did not resume his speech in the Assembly anticipating additional time and allowed others to speak.

A senior Minister, who was present at the meeting, told The Hindu that Mr. Reddy enquired about the strategy to be adopted if President declined additional time.

He said at one stage, the Chief Minister almost prepared for a marathon speech as the clock was ticking away with no word about the extension.

The Chief Minister is reported to have told the Ministers that every member would be allowed to speak and that there would be voting on the amendments to the clauses.

“Mr. Reddy also hinted at introducing a resolution in favour of united AP during the debate,” the Minister pointed out.

Another Minister said they rushed to the chambers thinking that Mr. Reddy would announce some drastic decision. “Already some television channels had aired reports that he was planning to quit his post after debate on the bifurcation Bill,” he said.

But within an hour of the meeting, there was relief as the Chief Secretary by then received a communication from the President allowing time till January 30.