New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee has given his approval to bifurcating the state of Andhra Pradesh. But before the Telangana Bill could be tabled in Parliament, there is a technical problem that has arisen.
The Bill has been referred to the Law Ministry to decide whether this is a money bill. This after objections were raised to it being brought to the Rajya Sabha first as money bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Another issue is as to who stands where on the Bill. The Bharatiya Janata Party would not want to be seen to be opposing it. But the National Conference and the Trinamool Congress are likely to oppose the bill.
The Telangana tangle has been continuing to trouble the government in its last session with continuous uproar in the House. On Monday, Seemandhra MPs yet again raised slogans on the floor of the House even as the government prepares to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Outside the House though, hectic parleys were continued all through the day and with back-channel talks, the government tried to reach out to the Opposition. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath met Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and a copy of the Bill was with the Opposition to finalise its stand.
Sources indicate that the BJP does not want to digress from its committed line in favour of Telangana. But some glaring loopholes in the draft are being looked at closely. For example the question of handing over the law and order of Hyderabad to the Governor without making it a union territory for the law and order in a state is a state subject and otherwise, if law and order is not held by the Governor, then the question of territorial control of one state over the other could be legally untenable.
The BJP is also seeking a financial package for Seemandhra to compensate for the financial loss the region may incur and is also demanding educational institutions like IITs and IIMs from the union government.
For the Congress, it is the one last political agenda it would want to implement before signing off. For the BJP, having committed on Telangana, it would not want to be seen to be opposing it. In case of any impasse, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make one last attempt through lunch diplomacy when he meets senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh on Wednesday.