A day after Union cabinet gave the formal nod to statehood for Telangana, the Congress legislators from Seemandhra made a resolution to vote against the bill when it comes for consideration in the Andhra Pradesh assembly.
“We have decided to vote against the bill under all circumstances,” said Sake Sailajanath, a state minister and convener of Seema-Andhra legislators forum.
The decision came after a marathon meet, at chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s camp-office, attended by the legislators and ministers, to discuss a plan of action following the union cabinet nod to Telangana on Thursday.
“We have decided to vote against the bill under all circumstances,” said minister Sake Sailajanath. The “circumstances” he referred to include a whip from the party, which most legislators are expecting.
Interestingly, ministers like Dokka Varaprasada Rao who lashed out at the CM for questioning the Congress Working Committee resolution also joined the meet on Friday.
The Congressmen, foremost among them CM Reddy, are opposed to division of the state.
“Yes, we would vote against the whip. It’s the cause that is important not our membership,” a party MLA told HT.
The remarks come as AICC is said to be keen on issuing a whip asking its MLAs and MLCs to vote in favour of a Telangana bill.
Though the assembly consent is not a must in a new state formation, a defeat of the motion here might highly embarrass the party top brass firm on carving out the 29th state.
In the state assembly, the odds are stacked against Telangana. In the 294 seat house, 175 MLAs are from SA, while the remaining 119 are from Telangana.
Though 15 SA seats are lying vacant following the Congress and TDP MLAs disqualification for defying party whips over a trust vote in March, SA side would still be strong to defeat the bill move.
According to Subhash Kashyap, an expert on Parliamentary procedures, despite the whip, the vote of the member counts as per his wish.
Even the disqualification over whip defiance is not automatic and involves petitions, hearings. The member could even take a legal recourse in case he is disqualified.