Telangana Bill: Bharatiya Janata Party takes credit, slams Congress

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 19 2014, 03:33am hrs
Bharatiya Janata Party today expressed satisfaction over the passage of the Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha but hit out at the government on the manner in which it was done accusing Congress of playing a "double game" on the issue.

Taking credit for supporting the government on the bill, the principal Opposition party said by doing so it has fulfilled its commitment for Telangana creation.

"It should not have been done in this manner... not by voice vote and head count and without a discussion," senior party leader L K Advani said.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said, "We have supported the bill for creation of Telangana, but criticise the manner in which it was passed... Congress is playing a double game on the issue and wants to take credit in both the regions... It is a matter of great satisfaction that we have honoured our party's commitment on Telangana."

BJP President Rajnath Singh said he is happy that the bill was passed but lamented the prevailing situation of chaos and outrage among people in other parts of the state could have been averted had Congress-led UPA brought this bill earlier.

"The Congress should be squarely blamed for this confusion and chaos in Andhra Pradesh... The manner in which the bill was pushed through by the government was not transparent and utterly undemocratic," he said, adding that government should spell out concrete measures to address concerns of Seemandhra.

Swaraj said though some concerns of Seemandhra region have been addressed in the official amendments, some others remain.

She said her party would move amendments on the bill when it is taken up in Rajya Sabha which include bringing a constitutional amendment on the issue of granting the law and order powers to the governor, an in-principle approval from Planning Commission on setting up new institutes in Seemandhra and converting the Polavaram project as a national project.

She also criticised the manner in which the live telecast during the passage of the Telangana Bill was blocked saying it was not a technical glitch but a "tactical" move.

"We strongly condemn the black out of the proceedings of Lok Sabha. It was done without our knowledge," said Swaraj and lamented that the Lok Sabha Secretariat was not providing audio or video recording of her speech on the Telangana Bill and she would take up the issue with the Speaker tomorrow.

The BJP did not move any amendments to the bill in Lok Sabha as "we did not believe the bill was introduced", but have since accepted the Speaker's decision on the issue. She said BJP will now move amendments on the bill in Rajya Sabha.

The opposition party slammed the government for having an "unconstitutional" provision in the bill by giving Governor the charge for law and order in Andhra Pradesh, contrary to what the Constitution says that the Governor will act on law order on the advise of the Chief Minister.

Swaraj accused government was trying to play a "double game" on the issue by merely introducing the bill and leaving it at that and accuse the BJP for not allowing it to be passed in the din.

"The Congress wanted to project as honest before people of both Telangana and Seemandhra. But their gameplan was disturbed when BJP clearly said we will support the bill and pass it even in the din but hold a discussion on it and then seek voting. They had no option left but to bring the bill," she said.

She said the Congress has been toying with the idea of Telangana creation for the last 10 years but have brought the bill only in the last week of the last session of current Lok Sabha. "This might be the last legislation taken up by this Lok Sabha," she said.

She also clarified that BJP was unable to pass it during the NDA regime as its then ally TDP was opposed to it.

Party leader Venkaiah Naidu said had Congress been sincere and brought the Telangana Bill two years ago the present situation of chaos, outrage could have been averted.

"Congress is only responsible for the chaos. We are committed for Telangana and we did our duty. Congress does not have any respect for constitution and parliamentary procedure.

Happy about Telangana formation, but disappointed and upset over injustice to Seemandhra," he said, expressing his anger with the process of bill introduction and passage.