PM’s Seemandhra address pushed BJP to support bill

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 21, 2014 01:48 IST

The assurance that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would address Seemandhra’s concerns in the Rajya Sabha prompted the BJP to go along with the UPA to create Telangana.

The government had late last evening given the BJP a list of concessions that it could make but the opposition had pressed for their inclusion in the bill. On Thursday, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu that it would not be possible to amend the bill but “the PM was ready to give his word on five or six issues raised by them”. An amendment would have necessitated sending the bill back to the Lok Sabha for approval.

A question raised by Arun Jaitley on the legal flaws in the bill wasn’t part of this deal. In the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Jaitley made sure his word of caution did not go unheard.

He pointed out that clause 8 of the bill gives Governor the last word in law and order matters of Hyderabad. But this runs contrary to constitutional provisions, which empower the state government to take all decisions relating to law and order. “This is an alternative method of governance... the BJP wants that the Telangana bill with Hyderabad as the common capital should legally and constitutionally be a sustainable decision and not a suspected one,” he said.

However, the BJP did not let its differences with the UPA to stand in the passage of the bill. The BJP, which would have supported the bill in any case, lapped up the offer of the PM’s assurance considering it as the ‘best possible’ deal it could have extracted from the government.

“The government was not ready to accept any changes in the bill. We felt that our purpose of extracting a major relief package for Seemandhra also gets served if the PM makes a promise on the floor of the house,” a BJP leader said.

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