Government fields junior minister for Telangana debate
By Express News Service - NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD
18th August 2012 08:27 AM
The Union government signalled a lack of urgency on the Telangana issue by fielding a junior minister to reply to a Rajya Sabha debate on a private member’s bill on separate statehood for the region.
The bill, tabled by the BJP’s Prakash Javdekar, was defeated by a voice vote, and served only to pinpoint the various parties’ stance on smaller states.
Most notably, the Samajwadi Party, an important prop of the UPA at the Centre, strongly opposed smaller states, because it would limite the bargaining power of the larger entity from which they would be carved.
After several parties spoke on the issue, minister of state for home Jitendra Singh stood up to deliver a proforma reply that has been stated by numerous other functionaries of the government previously.
A suitable decision will be taken on Telangana issue after consultations with all political parties, he said.
As the minister was replying, the BJP’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ravishankar Prasad, Devender Goud of the TDP and Javadekar himself said considering the political significance of the issue, either the Prime Minister or the home minister ought to have given the reply rather than a junior minister.
Javadekar charged the Congress with betraying the people of Telangana by going back on the assurance of a separate statehood given by the then home minister P Chidambaram in 2009.
With Javadekar refusing to withdraw the resolution, the chair called for a voice vote.
Members of BJP, TDP and Shiv Sena staged a walkout.
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