Hyderabad: Though the Union home ministry has sent the draft Telangana Bill to the chief secretary, it is doubtful that a Telangana state will become a reality before the next general elections in 2014.
The President has referred the draft Telangana Bill to the state as per the requirement under Article 3 of the Constitution and has set six weeks, or 42 days, i.e., till January 23, for the AP Legislature to express its opinion. There is, thus, hardly any chance of the T-Bill reaching Parliament before the expiry of the Winter Session, which concludes on December 20.
Since the President granted six weeks to the state Legislature to express its views, the Centre can’t do anything on the Telangana front till the time limit lapses.
From the AP Legislature, the Telangana Bill will go back to the home ministry and then again to the President. From Rashtrapati Bhavan, it will go to the Union Cabinet for finalising the Bill. Following that it will go back to the President for his consent for introducing the Bill in either House of Parliament.
Telangana Bill in Budget session
Assuming all formalities are completed before the end of January 2014, the UPA will be in a position to place the Telangana Bill in the ensuing Vote-on-Account Budget session.
If the Bill is passed by both the Houses and the President gives his assent, a notification will be issued on formation of the Telangana state and the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. In such case, there is a possibility that the Telangana state might be created before the 2014 polls.
However, since the Election Commission might announce the next Lok Sabha and Assembly general election schedule on March 2, Parliament needs to approve the Vote-on-Account budget for the 2014-15 financial year before that. It is a normal practice for the Union government to conclude the Vote-on-Account session in a few days without stretching it. In 2009 (the year of the last general elections), there were only 12 working days, mainly devoted to adopting the Vote-on-Account budget as well as the thanksgiving motion of the Presidential address to the joint sitting of Parliament. Also, if the passage of the Telangana Bill in Parliament is hampered due to political or legal complications, it will not be possible for the formation of Telangana before the polls.
Telangana ministers and even Union minister S. Jaipal Reddy are thus reportedly upset with the President for giving six weeks to the Legislature as they fear that the whole process will be further delayed.
They had earlier issued statements that Telangana would be a reality before January 1, 2014. But after realising that there were delays at the GoM and home ministry levels, they had said that the Telangana Bill would be passed in a Special Parliament Session sometime in January 2014.
However, that will also not be possible due to the long time limit given to the AP Legislature. Their only hope now is that the Bill will somehow get Parliament’s nod in February 2014, during the Budget Session.
Meanwhile, Seemandhra Congress leaders, who were upset with the party high command over the state’s bifurcation, are once again looking at possibilities of Chief Minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy, floating a new party.
These leaders are not comfortable about joining either the Telugu Desam or the YSR Congress and have been pinning their hopes on Kiran Kumar Reddy floating a new party to get them votes and seats in the next elections.
However, there is a rider for the CM to float a party. If the Telangana state is not formed before the elections, sources say he will definitely float a party called Samaikyandhra Rakshana Samiti with a promise that he will keep the state united if he comes to power. However, if the Telangana state is formed before the elections, Reddy might not float the party.