As half of the six-week time given by the President of India for sending the views on the AP Reorganisation Bill, 2013, passed without any debate, speaker N Manohar today asked the members of the state legislative Assembly to submit written amendments, if any, to the clauses of the Bill by January 10.
The Speaker’s move came after the disruption of the House continued on Monday, the third consecutive day after the session restarted on January 3 following a Christmas break.
After reconvening the House amidst continued slogan shouting by members of both Telangana and Seemandhra regions, the Speaker announced that the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) held earlier in the day decided to accept written amendments from the members till 1 pm on January 10.
The deadline coincides with a long six-day Sankranti festival break that begins from the next day (Jan 11). Only seven working days then will be left before the six -week time expires. Interestingly, both chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu stayed away from the BAC meeting.
The Speaker’s decision indirectly put a question mark on the possibility of any meaningful discussion taking place on the floor. Once the Speaker gets the written amendments, his constitutional duty of sending the legislators’ views to the President will become easy even if the members fail to utilise the rest of the Assembly time for discussion on the Bill.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) members welcomed the Speaker’s decision while appealing to members of the Seemandhra region to take part in the debate instead of creating an impression among their constituents that by stalling the Assembly proceedings they were trying to stall the process of bifurcation of AP.
Though the chief minister had suggested that things would change in the Assembly from Monday onwards, nothing had actually changed on the floor after the House started in the morning. On Monday, he reportedly said the Speaker’s announcement for written submissions on the Bill was no substitute for the actual debate in the House and there would be voting on every clause of the Bill after the debate started.
Apparently, the ongoing stalemate is the result of a bitter political game started by the Seemandhra leadership, including the chief minister, TDP and YSR Congress, in a bid to outsmart each other in presenting themselves as the sole fighter of the united Andhra Pradesh. Against this backdrop, the YSRC has been maintaining they would allow discussion on the Bill only after the Speaker allowed them to move a resolution in support of keeping the state united.
“This continued insistence for a resolution on status quo means the YSR Congress members would continue to disrupt the House if even if others agreed to take part in the discussion. If they are suspended from the House, the members of the other two parties would be shown as the facilitators of the bifurcation Bill,” a senior member of the Assembly said.
Last week, Kiran Reddy claimed that the Bill was only tabled in the House and it was neither introduced by a minister nor any debate was initiated. This was in complete contrast to the stand taken by the Speaker and minister D Sridhar Babu, whose statements had cost him his legislative affairs portfolio.
The Speaker at the today’s BAC meeting brushed aside the chief minister’s take on these technicalities while stating there were bigger issues to be addressed, according to the members who attended the meeting.