Hyderabad: ‘Backroom parleys’ between Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu today helped break the deadlock in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly over the draft AP Reorganisation Bill-2013.
At the same time, it pushed the YSR Congress into a corner in the House even as the much-awaited debate on the draft Bill finally began this afternoon.
Though the draft Bill was tabled in the House on December 16, no debate could take place on it before the Assembly was on the 19th, adjourned till January 3.
Even after the winter session resumed on the January 3, the House could not transact any business for more than four days as both the TDP and the YSRC members disrupted the proceedings constantly, leading to repeated adjournments.
While the TDP insisted on additional information on the draft Bill like the statement of “objects and reasons” and financial memoranda, the YSRC pressed for a resolution against the proposed bifurcation.
Thus, a stalemate continued in the Assembly in the last five days, even as the Seemaandhra legislators of the Congress grew restive.
Apprehending that no initiation of a debate will only land them in a no-win situation, floor managers of the Congress got into the act to make the TDP and the YSRC see reason to participate in the debate.
“The TDP was ready for the debate but didn’t want the YSRC have its way in disrupting the House. The YSRC never accepted our plea for taking part in the discussion on the draft Bill,” a senior minister pointed out.
With the TDP and the YSRC engaged in a game of one-upmanship, the Congress’ Seemaandhra side made frantic efforts to rally them to a common point.
While ministers and other floor managers continued their efforts, the Chief Minister reportedly engaged the TDP chief in backroom parleys through a “common channel” and succeeded.
“Unless we start the debate in the House, we cannot seek extension of time (beyond January 23) for returning the draft Bill to the President. Also, proposing various amendments and voting on the different clauses in the Bill was very vital to make a stronger case – both constitutional and legal – against the bifurcation. This argument by the Chief Minister clinched the issue,” informed sources said.
The AP Non-Gazetted Officers Association also played its bit in rallying the Seemaandhra Congress and TDP l aders to this point, the sources added.
By taking part in the debate and voting, the Seemaandhra Congress and TDP legislators could go to people with their “heads high” that they did not leave any stone unturned in opposing the bifurcation.
“By blocking the debate and not taking part in voting (on clauses), the YSRC can’t claim to have championed the united AP cause,” TDP senior legislators Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar
and Payyavula Kesav pointed out.
But, the YSRC sought to hit back, repeating its allegation of a “collusion” between Congress and TDP.
“The deceivers of united AP have strategically joined hands. Chandrababu Naidu has surrendered to the Congress high command,” YSRC legislators B Karunakar Reddy and others alleged.
They demanded that the Assembly Speaker first take up voting on the draft Bill and only then go ahead with the debate.
“We will not allow the debate unless there is voting on the Bill first,” they said.
Meanwhile, the Telangana legislators got little solace from former judge of Supreme Court Justice B Sudershan Reddy as the latter saw nothing wrong in clauses of the draft Bill being put to vote in the Assembly.
The Telangana legislators, jittery that the Seemaandhra side might get an upper hand if voting took place on the clauses, sought legal counsel from Sudershan.
“He said there was nothing to worry even if the clauses were put to vote since it was for Parliament to take a final call. We will, however, continue our political fight in the Assembly and see that voting does not take place,” Civil Supplies Minister D Sridhar Babu said.
Now, the Telangana legislators are redrawing their strategies to thwart the Seemaandhra efforts as debate on the draft Bill finally started in the Assembly.