With the Group of Ministers (GoM) clearing the draft bill for creation of Telangana, which would come up for discussion at a Union Cabinet meeting on Thursday, all eyes are on the course of action President Pranab Mukherjee will take. In the event of Cabinet approval of the bill as proposed by the GoM or in an amended form, it would be sent to the President, who in turn will refer it to the Andhra Pradesh Legislature through the Governor for consideration.

It is the discretion of the President to prescribe the time by which the Assembly will have to consider the bill and give its views. Considering the brief winter session of Parliament, which would begin on Thursday and is slated to end in the third week of December unless extended, how much time the President will give the Assembly assumes significance as the Union government is keen on ensuring that all legal measures are fulfilled before the session is over.

‘Guided by precedents’

Some of the experts, who did not wish to be identified, are of the view that given the track record of Mr. Mukherjee as a stickler for the provisions of the spirit and letter of the Constitution, he would be guided by precedents.

The Andhra Pradesh Legislature is scheduled to commence its session on December 12.

“It is indeed a race against time. We are keeping our fingers crossed to see whether the whole process of bifurcation can be complete in the coming session of Parliament particularly as the next session would be for a few weeks to approve a vote on account budget before the general elections scheduled in April/May,” a senior official associated with the exercise told The Hindu .