Hyderabad: The Congress Core Committee, in a meeting on Friday evening at the Prime Minister’s residence, approved the draft Telangana Bill prepared by the Group of Ministers. The Bill is likely to be approved by the Union Cabinet at its meeting on December 3 or 4.
However, doubts persist about whether the Telangana Bill will be introduced in Parliament before December 20 as the process of obtaining permission from the President and taking the opinion of the AP Legislature will take some time.
A similar view was expressed by Union parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath who was a special invitee at the core committee meeting. Coming out of the core committee meeting, Nath told the media, “How can you expect the Telangana Bill in Parliament within such a short time? I think the Bill is also not ready as yet.”
However, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Telangana Bill will be introduced in the Winter Session of Parliament. “We’ll complete all formalities, don’t worry,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources said that the core committee has asked Shinde to be in touch with the BJP leadership, who have extended their support to Telangana, and brief them on the developments regularly to ensure safe passage of the Bill.
State Cabinet to meet on December 3
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday sprang a surprise by convening the state Cabinet meeting on December 3, a day before the Union Cabinet is likely to approve the Telangana Bill.
The state Cabinet meeting is significant because it is expected to decide the schedule for the Assembly session. All eyes are on the state Assembly to which the Telangana Bill will be referred for its views before Parliament finally gives its nod for the division of the state.
Sources in the Chief Minister’s office, though, maintained that no significance should be attached to the Cabinet meeting and only regular business was on the agenda.
The Telangana ministers, however, see a strategy behind the timing of the Cabinet meeting.
“Discussion on the Assembly schedule could be avoided because the Union Cabinet is yet to decide on the T Bill,” said a minister.
There is a debate on proroguing the Assembly with the Chief Minister pressing for it and legislative affairs minister D. Sridhar Babu wanting to keep it on hold.
Meanwhile, there is confusion over the Central Cabinet meeting. Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had announced that the Cabinet will meet on December 4.
On Friday, he said it would be advanced by a day. But in the evening, sources in the ministry of home affairs said the Cabinet will meet as per schedule on December 4 and the Group of Ministers will meet on December 3.