Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday declared that the 10-member Group of Ministers being set up to work out the details of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh would be given six weeks to submit its report, a sign that the government would miss its deadline of introducing the bill in Parliament during the Winter Session.
Shinde suggested the winter session deadline for introducing the bill in Parliament was still on.
Government sources suggested that the bill would have a fighting chance to make it to the Winter Session of Parliament only if the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council quickly return the draft bill with their comments.
As soon as the Congress Working Committee passed the Telangana resolution on 30 July, the home ministry had told the government that the formalities to firm up the bill to carve Telangana would take nearly 115 days from the date of the first Cabinet decision.
Given the delay in taking the proposal to the Cabinet, this means that the bill would be ready for introduction only towards the end of January next year, long after the winter session would have wound up.
This 115-day period was calculated on the assumption that the GoM would take four weeks to submit its report and the state legislature takes another 30 days to convey its views on the draft bill.
The remaining period was for scrutinising the recommendations of the GoM, drafting the bill and taking the final decision to introduce the legislation in Parliament.
Since the majority of the Andhra assembly is against creation of Telangana, government officials said the chances of the assembly putting the bills on the fast track were slim.
Article 3 of the Constitutions mandates that the Centre seeks the views of the state legislature concerned on a proposal to alter the boundary of the state.
“The state assembly does not need to concur with the Centre’s bill,” an official said, referring to Andhra MLAs deciding against putting in their papers and their plans to pass a resolution against the division.
“At best, it will be a symbolic gesture to put the legislature’s opposition on record,” he said.
Politicians who support creation of Telangana have been egging the government to explore the option of imposing President’s Rule in the state on grounds of breakdown of law & order machinery. Once the assembly is in suspended animation, it is being argued, the power to articulate the legislature’s views would get transferred to the Governor.
“This is how Punjab was also split in the 1960s,” a staunch supporter of the move to create Telangana said.