Telangana- the number game begins


AP Assembly
The Congress in both the State of Andhra Pradesh as well as the Centre did manage to put off the Telangana issue for a while following the Shri Krishna Commission report. However if one witnesses what has transpired today a history of sorts has been created with Members of the Legislative Assembly man handling their colleagues from other parties which incidentally is a first in this state.
Kiran Kumar Reddy puts up a brave front and says that his government will survive a test vote even if their MLAs pull out from the party. The Congress MLAs numbering 20 who hail from the Telangana region had following the Krishna commission report threatened to pull out from the government if the bill for a separate state was not passed in the budget session.
Now with the Union Budget nearing the pressure is really immense and for the MLAs especially from the Congress it is a do or die situation. Desperation is what an insider of the Congress terms the situation as. All of them are not even taking part in the assembly proceedings are presently campaigning in New Delhi in a bid to put pressure on the union government to pass a bill regarding Telangana.
When the Krishna commission report came out the Congress MLAs from the Telangana region were under the most pressure to resign. Their houses were locked up and they were told that they should not return unless they ensure a separate state is granted failing which they would have to withdraw support to the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh.
Congress sources camping in Delhi say that their situation is a desperate one. Either they have to ensure that the bill is passed or at least to see to it that the Union Government gives another assurance regarding this issue so that they could buy more time with the voter. One of the Congress MLAs from the Telangana region told rediff.com that if they unable to achieve any of the following then they will have no option but to resign and if they don’t then it would be the end of their political career. We need to think in the long term he also said.
Now with the resignation of the Congress MLAs from Telangana imminent if the Telangana bill is not passed the next question is however regarding the survival of the Kiran Kumar Reddy led Congress government in Andhra Pradesh.
Political observers say that there are problems galore and the likes of Jagan Mohan Reddy will be looking to pounce on any such opportunity. Moreover the Telangana Rastriya Samithi is also taking a lot of advantage of this emotional issue and there is every possibility that there will be many MLAs looking to jump into that party. The TRS has decided to disrupt all further assembly proceedings until a recommendation for the formation of Telangana is sent to the government of India.
With these issues the Congress in Andhra Pradesh have pulled out their calculators and are counting numbers. The strength of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly is 294 of which the Congress has 156 members. The magic number required would be 148 and under the existing circumstance the Congress appears to be peaceful. However if the 20 MLAs from the Telangana region decide to pull out then the party numbers fall to 136 which would mean they fall short of 12. MLAs. However the Congress would then bank on the Praja Rajyam Party which has 18 members. While this would be more than sufficient to carry the government forward there are still some issues within the PRP which makes the Congress uneasy. In the PRP there are 2 MLAs who support Jagan while there are two more from the Telangana region. This means that the Congress can leave out these 4 MLAs when it faces a trust vote in the state. While this would also mean that the Congress still sails through 148 members in the House it will need to be extremely cautious when it hands out of berths to the MLAs from the PRP. Some of the PRP MLAs have made it clear that they would remain in the government only if they are given ministries and the Congress will have a lot of soul searching to do on this issue.
In addition to this, Jagan would also try and swoop in and break into the Congress and that would ensure that their numbers suffer. The question whether the Congress would fall in Andhra Pradesh as a result of Telangana or would it manage to scrape through, only time would tell.

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Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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