New Delhi : With each passing day of the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, as the T- Bill remains in the lurch, there is mounting uncertainty about the fate of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill that seeks to create bifurcate the state and create a separate Telangana.
As his own ministers disrupted the interim budget speech of the Union Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed, ‘‘My heart bleeds to see what is happening in the House. It is sad for democracy that such things are happening even after all appeals for calm.”
Union parliamentary affairs minister Kamalnath echoed these feelings. ‘‘It is unfortunate and will set a bad precedent for Lok Sabha in the future,” he said.
These remarks came even as the prime minister made all out efforts to get the opposition BJP on board for the passage of the Bill. During a luncheon meeting, senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley gave conditional support to the Bill with a stipulation that the concerns of the people of Seemandhra will be addressed within the proposed legislation itself.
Union Ministers A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram, Kamal Nath and Sushilkumar Shinde were also present during the meeting at which the ending of the current logjam in Parliament and the passage of other crucial bills was also discussed.
But the defiant stance of the Andhra Pradesh ministers who justified the disruption of the Lok Sabha is an indicator of the difficulty that lies ahead for separate Telangana. Union human resource development minister M Pallam Raju disagreed with the prime minister’s disapproval of his conduct and that of the others. “I do not think the comment is fair just to isolate what is happening today. It has been happening in the House. Certainly, I think there has been a failing somewhere,” Raju said.
He justified the uproar created by his party colleagues from Seemandhra, including four ministers, who trooped into the well of Lok Sabha disrupting the presentation of Interim Rail Budget, saying that it is expected of them to put up a “final battle” in Lok Sabha against the proposed division.
Raju said that the bill should not become a reality in its present form because justice is not being done to two of the badly affected regions — Rayalseema and Seemandhra — and questioned the hurry with which it is being brought in this session, suggesting that the matter can be taken up by the next Lok Sabha as well after the polls.
“There is absolute injustice in the current form of the bill. I hope that amendments will take place before it is introduced. There is no reason why it should be rushed in this Lok Sabha. It can always be taken up later,” he added.
This stance fits in with the logic of the unified Andhra supporters who feel that if the bill is not passed within the life time of this Lok Sabha, then the next government can be asked to take a de novo look at the whole question of bifurcation.
But several senior members are worried at Parliament being held hostage by a few members. “This is not a temporary problem. We have been watching this happen for the last three years, and now our concern is that whichever party forms the next government, it will keep facing these situations,” said a senior minister.