Hyderabad: The Congress has given a new twist to the demand of increasing Assembly seats in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states before the 2019 general elections.
A Congress senior MP and architect of AP Reorganisation Act, on Thursday said that the party will not back the proposed amendment to the Act to facilitate increase of Assembly seats in the two seats.
Speaking to newsmen in Delhi, Jairam Ramesh said while Section 26 of the AP Reorganisation Act does provide for the increase of Assembly seats in both the States, Chief Ministers K. Chandrasekhar Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu are using the provision to serve their political purposes by openly encouraging defection of Opposition MLAs into their respective parties by promising them they will be accommodated in the 2019 elections due to increase of Assembly seats.
“We had included that provision in good faith and good intentions, but the two Chief Ministers are misusing it and exerting pressure on the Central government to bring the amendment so that the number of Assembly seats are increased before the 2019 elections. Congress will not support such a move,” Mr Ramesh said.
He said there was no need to increase Assembly seats in TS and AP and the Section 26 provision was “routinely included”, like it is for any state that is bifurcated.
“The last delimitation was done and implemented in 2009. There is no fresh delimitation due till 2026 as per Article 170 (3) of the Constitution. Even if the Centre wants to bring an amendment, it should consider similar demands from other states. If one goes by the population and the number of seats, TS and AP have sufficient number as of now,” Mr Ramesh said.
There are several discrepancies in the Assembly seats in various states. While Kerala and Jharkhand both have three crore population, the latter has Jharkhand has only 84 Assembly seats while the former has 140.
Undivided AP’s population was about eight crore with 294 Assembly seats, but Maharashtra, with a population of 11 crore, has 288 Assembly seats.
“It’s better for Union minister Venkaiah Naidu to consider increase of Assembly seats in those States where at present the seats are fewer in comparison to the population of the state than trying to bring an amendment only for TS and AP,” Mr Ramesh said. The proposal was to increase Assembly seats in TS from the existing 119 to 153 and in Andhra Pradesh from the existing 175 to 225....