India’s Andhra Pradesh state assembly has rejected the federal draft bill to carve out the new state of Telangana, posing a moral dilemma to the Congress-led federal government at the centre.
On Thursday, legislators led by the ruling Congress and its Chief Minister Kiran Reddy voted against their own federal government’s bill proposing the new Telangana state that will be carved out of existing Andhra Pradesh.
The rejection by the state assembly will have no bearing on the federal government’s move to create the new state. But the resounding negative vote is expected to pose a moral dilemma for the federal government and the Indian president Pranab Mukherjee.
According to set procedures, irrespective of what the Andhra assembly said, the president is free to forward the rejected vote and the draft bill back to the federal government which can present it in parliament for discussions and vote.
Reacting to the rejection, pro-Telangana leader KTR Rao was quoted as saying that the resolution was expected, and was "not even worth the paper it was printed on."
The Congress-led coalition government in New Delhi has made it clear it will move the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to create a separate Telangana state, irrespective of what the state assembly says.
Federal home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has already declared the government’s intention to press ahead with the Telangana bill, reports said.
“We are clear in our mind that the Telangana bill will be brought in this session of parliament. It is a commitment we have made,” said reports, quoting Shinde.
The proposal to create a separate Telangana state has evoked massive opposition, at times violent, from the rest of Andhra Pradesh state. So much so, even state legislators and parliamentarians belonging to the Congress have opposed the move.
A section of Congress MPs (members of parliament) have indicated they will try move a motion of no-confidence against their own party-led government in parliament on February 5.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has supported the move to form a separate Telangana state, while the regional party Telugu Desam has remained ambiguous in its stance. The breakaway regional YSR Congress party has opposed Telangana.
The demand for a separate Telangana is several decades old. But the move seemed distant until the federal government last year decided to go ahead and carve it out of the existing Andhra Pradesh state.