AP Legislature rejects T-Bill by voice vote amid high drama

AP Legislature rejects T-Bill by voice vote amid high dramaHYDERABAD: In an embarrassment for the Congress, the Andhra Pradesh Legislature today turned down the Center’s proposal to bifurcate the state with both Houses adopting separate resolutions by voice vote rejecting the AP Reorganization Bill-2013.

Though a “formality” under Article 3 of the Constitution has been completed, it will not have any bearing on the Center’s decision to create a separate state of Telangana by dividing Andhra Pradesh.

On a day marked by high drama in the Legislative Assembly, Speaker Nadendla Manohar put the government resolution’ moved by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy ‘rejecting the Bill’ for consideration of the House and it was carried by voice vote.

The resolution said: “The House while rejecting the AP Reorganization Bill, 2013, resolves to request the Honorable President of India not to recommend it for introduction in Parliament as the Bill seeks to bifurcate the state of Andhra Pradesh without any reason\basis and without arriving at a consensus, in utter disregard to the linguistic and cultural homogeneity and economic and administrative viability of both regions.

“The Bill also completely ignores the very basis of formation of State of Andhra Pradesh, the first linguistic state created in independent India.”

Since the government resolution was approved, the Speaker said, he saw no reason to take up the ten private resolutions moved by other members on the same subject.

“As the time given by the President for the House to debate the Bill is coming to an end today, there is a need to conclude the discussion thereon. The Bill was tabled in the House on December 16 and 86 members participated in the debate. Almost all members expressed their views in writing and they shall form part of the official record,” he said.

He said 9,072 proposals for amendments\expression of views on the clauses of the Bill were submitted by members in writing and they too would form part of the official record.

“As agreed to in the Business Advisory Committee meeting, these records will be submitted to the President of India as the views of this House,” Manohar said.

The rejection of the Bill has come as an embarrassment to the Centre which has decided to table the Telangana Bill in the Parliament session beginning February 5. Congress downplayed the rejection of the bill, saying it was on “predicted” lines and will not affect the move for carving out a new state.

“As far as the resolution is concerned, it does not affect the Constitutional provisions under Article 3 for the creation of a new state in the Indian Union…One should remember this the bill was sent (to Andhra Pradesh Assembly) for comments and not for a vote,” AICC general secretary in-charge for Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh said in Delhi.

In the Legislative Council, Chairman A Chakrapani also put the government resolution moved by Leader of the House C Ramachandraiah, rejecting the AP Reorganization Bill-2013, to vote and it was carried by voice vote.

The Chairman announced that 54 members participated in the discussion on the Bill in the House while almost all members submitted their views in writing.

About 1157 amendments\expression of views were also submitted in writing on the various clauses of the Bill.

“All these will form part of the official record,” he said.

Both Houses were adjourned sine die after the government resolutions were carried by voice vote.

The AP Reorganization Bill-2013 that provides for creation of a new state of Telangana was on December 12 referred by the President to the state Legislature under Article 3 of the Constitution for “expressing its views” and initially gave time till January 23 for the process.

The Bill was formally tabled in both Houses on December 16 but actual debate could not begin till January 8.

The President gave a week’s additional time beyond January 23 for the Legislature to discuss the Bill but in the last four days no debate was possible in the Assembly after the Chief Minister termed the Bill “unconstitutional” and “incomprehensive”.

As the extended deadline came to an end today, the presiding officers of both Houses rushed through the formalities and fulfilled a constitutional obligation.–PTI