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Government sticks with decision on Telangana but unsure about tabling of bill

Talking to media persons at his monthly press conference, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde did not rule out the possibility of imposition of President's rule in Andhra Pradesh.

"I don't think (there is) any possibility of going back on Telangana," Shinde said in response to a query.

To a question on the possibility of President's rule in Andhra Pradesh, following protests in coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions over the division of the state, Shinde said, "I can't say at the moment."

He said the group of ministers (GoM) on Telangana, which is slated to hold its first meeting on Friday, will listen to various stakeholders.

The GoM will go to the cabinet with its report, and the bill will be placed in Parliament after getting the opinion of the state assembly, the union home minister said.

Asked what might happen if the state assembly rejects the resolution for the formation of Telangana, Shinde said, "The constitution has provided a remedy." He, however, did not elaborate on the constitutional provisions for such an eventuality.

Article 3 of the Constitution vests plenary power with parliament for the reconstitution of states. It states, “Parliament may by law (a) form a new state by separation of territory from any state or by uniting two or more states or parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state, (b) increase the area of any state; (c) diminish the area of any state; (d) alter the boundaries of any state; (e) alter the name of any state..."

The article provides that "no bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either of the Houses of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the states, the bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.”

Shinde also sidestepped a question on whether the bill for Telangana will come in the winter session of Parliament. He said the decision will be taken as early as possible.

He indicated that the GoM will also consider the work of the Srikrishna Commission, which had looked into demands for statehood for Telangana.

"The issues (such as visiting Andhra Pradesh and talking to political parties) will be discussed in the first two meetings. It is not right to speak at the moment," Shinde said.

Shinde said care will be taken to ensure that there was no injustice during the bifurcation of the assets of the united state.

"All points will be taken into consideration. Justice will be done to Andhra," he said.

Asked about the capital for the new state, Shinde said the issue will be discussed with stakeholders.

He said the GoM will give its report as early as possible.

Answering a query about suggestions that the state should not be bifurcated till 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Shinde said the decision on Telangana had not been taken in a hurry, and consultations had been held since 2009 when the first move was towards the creation of Telangana.

It was in February that year that the state government had declared that it had no objection, in principle, to the formation of the new state.
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