Thursday, January 16, 2014

AP Reorg Bill - Part 2

The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.

In Part-I, we have discussed the AP Reorganisation Bill in detail and wondered given that Sonia’s UPA decided to have a common capital, common Governor, common High Court and common entrance exam for a maximum period of up to 10 years, why should there be a split then?
Once the Bill was approved by the Union Cabinet, Ministers from Seemandhra started exhibiting their ‘bravado’ on TV.  Minister of State with independent charge for the Ministry of Tourism, Chiranjeevi resigned and urged Sonia Gandhi (yep Sonia Gandhi) to accept his resignation. However, his resignation has not been accepted and he continues to remain the Minister. Same is the case with other Ministers – they proclaim they will resign but nothing happens.
The Bill is currently with the Legislative Assembly. It needs to go back to the President by the January 23, 2014. The Assembly was already in session when the Bill was sent by the President in the second week of December. The Business Advisory Committee decided to give every member a chance to air his/her views on the Bill. It was also decided to debate till the January 23 and then send the Bill back to the President.
The first three days of the the planned debate washed out because various members from Seemandhra did not allow any discussion. On December 19, the House was adjourned to meet again on the January 3. The reason being the members insisted for 10 days holidays in lieu of Christmas and New Year and was happily sanctioned by the Speaker itself. Now, the House will meet on January 3. And then, there are again holidays for Sankranti festival. Members even want to take off on a couple of Sundays! This Bill is the most important Bill that has ever been discussed in the Assembly. There is a plan to give every member a chance to talk. How the Congress Government aims to achieve this in 13 days, amidst such hatred, is something which is difficult to fathom.
One would have expected that the Speaker of the Assembly and the chairperson of the Council were armed with the detailed procedures adopted by the Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Legislative bodies when their States were split recently. However, for some inexplicable reason, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh had to procure the details and then forward them to both the presiding officers – who are now studying what happened during the discussions in Assemblies.
The Chief Minister insists that exact procedures are followed while discussing AP Reorganisation Bill too. He, including many leaders from Seemandhra want voting wherever demanded. They even cited that there was voting on many clauses in the UP, MP and Bihar Legislative bodies. It was ultimately left to the Centre to accept or reject the suggestions made by the Assembly – a resolution for change of capital for Uttaranchal was rejected by the Centre; name change from Vananchal to Jharkhand was accepted; and many such instances are being cited.
However, in this particular case, if at all Members allow for voting, since those opposing the bifurcation are in the majority – the Assembly will reject the idea of a split itself. It remains to be seen how Parliament will react to this basic rejection by the Assembly. Honourable and venerable Digvijay Singh says that the outcome of the voting in the Assembly is immaterial. Pitiful words coming from a former Chief Minister who presided over one bifurcation – but what more can we expect from this man?
It is very unclear as to what the outcome of the debate in the Assembly will be. The Chief Minister is going out all guns to stall the process insisting that he is ‘yet to bowl the last ball’. He also said he can stop the bifurcation. Most Congress leaders from the region are scheming on methods to stall the Bill in the Assembly. In fact, the State Government is believed to have written a letter to the Union Home Ministry seeking clarifications on the Bill. The State has requested for a detailed reply before January 3 – something that Shinde might not care about.
The Telangana leaders insist that the Bill be debated and sent back as quickly as possible, even though they are not happy with certain key contents in the Bill – that’s the miracle of Sonia’s Congress – with this Bill, they have managed to dissatisfy every single political entity, including their own party! Perhaps, only the Congress is capable of such astonishing achievement.


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