The UPA government has been forced to change its strategy to push key bills in Parliament under the Opposition’s pressure and bureaucratic hurdles in the way of the bill on Telangana. It will now try to pass Rahul Gandhi’s pet anti-graft bills and the Telangana legislation between February 19 and 21— the last three days of the ongoing session.
An embarrassed government also had to seek fresh approval of President Pranab Mukhejree to bring the Telangana bill in parliament.
On Monday, Mukherjee had given his nod to introduce the bill in Rajya Sabha. The government’s move, however, was questioned by the parliamentary bureaucracy: It pointed out that the Andhra Pradesh re-organisation bill qualifies as a ‘Money Bill’ as it involves promises worth thousands of crores. The secretariat also pointed out that all other previous bills to divide states, like Uttarakhand or Chhattisgarh, were brought in Lok Sabha.
At a meeting with parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, several Opposition leaders asked the government not to bring any bill before the passage of the interim railway budget and the Vote on Accounts.
“We also told the government that the bills — on Telangana and six key anti-graft measures — should not be passed without discussion,” BJD chief whip Bhartruhari Mahtab said.
This demand makes it extremely difficult for the government to pass bills as the ongoing session has not been allowed to function so far.