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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

BJP moves to extract its pound of flesh

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 20, 2014
First Published: 01:28 IST(20/2/2014) | Last Updated: 01:29 IST(20/2/2014)

Trying to extract from government the maximum relief it could get for Seemandhra region, the BJP has moved two dozen odd amendments to the Telangana Bill passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The bill is now expected in the upper house on Thursday for discussion and passage.

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Most of the BJP’s amendments relate to seeking a financial package for the Seemandhra region where tempers have flared up after the lower house cleared the bill seeking to carve out a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh. BJP leaders argue that the state would be a revenue-deficit state after cash-rich Hyderabad becomes part of Telangana.

“The state would need money to pay salaries, pension and interest on loans from the day one it. It will need a financial package to meet these expenditures. The Finance Commission can compute and compensate for the losses later on, but there should be a grant of `10,000 crore for the first year,” former BJP chief M Venkaiah Naidu said. He insisted that provisions for all such grants and reliefs should be specifically mentioned in the bill.

Naidu has moved 20 amendments while leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has given two others relating to unbridled power of the governor in law and order matters of Hyderbabad. BJP MP Prakash Javadekar has also moved some amendments. “We hope that some of these are accepted and Seemandhra gets its due,” a BJP leader said.

Sources claimed at a meeting of BJP leaders, Naidu expressed concerns over the manner in which the bill was cleared without the party appearing to seeking concession for the Seemandhra region where potential ally Telugu Desam Party is pitted against YSR Congress of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. BJP leaders told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that they should not allow passage of the bill that would not stand the judicial scrutiny and create a fresh round of trouble.

In a meeting with rural development minister Jairam Ramesh later in the evening. BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Naidu insisted that they want in writing all assurances from the government since it has “gone back on several promises made in the past”.  Ramesh, sources claimed, has assured the BJP leaders to get back to them soon after which the opposition party will firm up its Thursday strategy for the Rajya Sabha.


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