Telangana Bill is not tabled in Rajya sabha today


t-billNew Delhi: The Centre has decided not to table the Telangana Bill in Rajya Sabha today despite President Pranab Mukherjee giving his approval to the controversial legislation on Monday.

The government has instead decided to refer the matter to the Law Ministry since there were contending opinions within the UPA over whether or not the legislation is a money bill.

A money bill, or legislations with financial implications, can be introduced only in Lok Sabha.

Anti-Telangana protests prevented any substantial business in Parliament yesterday. In the Rajya Sabha, TDP members held up placards reading “We want United Andhra Pradesh” and shouted slogans during protests that saw some members tearing papers and breaking the chairman’s mic.

The government has nine working days to debate and pass the bill before the end of this session, its last chance to deliver on its Telangana promise before the national election, due by May.

The BJP has reportedly asked for six changes in the bill, which includes the provision for a financial package for the Seemandhra region, or the area combining the two non-Telangana districts. PM Manmohan Singh is expected to reach out to the party at a dinner hosted by him on Wednesday.

The Centre is reportedly worried that for its support to Telangana, the BJP may want a slew of anti-corruption bills that it described as “Rahul Gandhi’s poll agenda” to be dropped.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and other Seemandhra Congress leaders have been trying to stall the bill’s introduction in Parliament hoping that the state will head into the election undivided, sparing them the wrath of voters worried about losing power, water and other resources from Telangana. Seemandhra MPs have even submitted notice for a no-confidence motion against the PM.

The Congress last week refused to designate Hyderabad a union territory. It will be a shared capital for the next 10 years between the old and new state but its revenue is unlikely to be divided, said sources.

Government employees in Seemandhra, which combines Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra, have started an indefinite strike against the state’s bifurcation.