Telangana Bill: Chandrababu Naidu wriggled out of a tricky situation

Written by Press Trust of India | Hyderabad | Updated: Jan 31 2014, 19:53pm hrs
On the Telangana Bill, the Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu did not get an opportunity to express his views in the Assembly but his MLAs feel this was a "blessing in disguise" for their leader whose stand on the statehood issue is often seen as wrapped in ambiguity.

Though there was talk in Assembly lobbies in afternoon that the Leader of Opposition gave his views to the Speaker in the form of an "affidavit", Naidu's aides denied that.

TDP MLAs also said their leader did not submit his views on the Bill in writing like many others did.

It would have been a ticklish task for Naidu, who treats Seemandhra and Telangana as his "two eyes", to actually register his views on record on the state bifurcation issue at a time when his party has been split vertically along regional lines and is being viewed with suspicion in both the regions.

TDP has become the target of other parties in Seemandhra for "facilitating" the bifurcation, while in Telangana it is, ironically, being attacked for being "pro-united AP".

Naidu's stated position, however, has been that the TDP "remains committed" to its letter (to the Centre) seeking creation of Telangana state but only after doing "equal justice to all regions" and addressing the concerns of Seemandhra people in particular.

All eyes were on Naidu ever since the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill-2013 was tabled in the Assembly on December 16 and the debate on it started on January 8.

As Leader of Opposition, Naidu would have got the first opportunity to speak in any debate but this time he gave the chance to his party colleagues to speak first.

Normally, the Chief Minister would speak only after the Leader of Opposition had his turn but on this Bill, CM Kiran Kumar went ahead even before Naidu got to speak.

"Paucity of time" forced the CM to get into the debate ahead of the Opposition leader as the original deadline for completing the debate on the Bill was to end on January 23.

But, even after a week's additional time was given to the House, Naidu did not get the opportunity to speak as the Assembly was stuck in pandemonium in the last four days though he was prepared to address the Assembly on January 27.

TDP legislators admit in private that it was indeed a "blessing is disguise" for their leader to have been "deprived" of the chance to speak on the issue in Assembly.

Naidu would perhaps be the only Leader of Opposition whose views remain unrecorded in the official documents over the bifurcation of a state.