Telangana before elections:Digvijay Singh

Digvijay Singh hopes for smooth Telangana formation amid stiff opposition from Seemandhra leaders

Friday, Dec 13, 2013, 21:56 IST | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: PTI

Despite the short time available, and the strong opposition from the Seemandhra leaders, Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh today hoped that process of formation of Telangana state would conclude smoothly.

“I hope so,” he said, when asked whether he was hopeful that the formal process of bifurcation would be smooth.

Singh, in-charge of Congress affairs in the state, was speaking to reporters at the end of his two-day visit to Hyderabad. He arrived here yesterday as the draft state reorganisation bill was sent to the AP legislature for its views.

The AP legislature has been given time till January 23 to return the bill after discussions; on the other hand, the winter session of Parliament will end this month, while Lok Sabha polls are likely early next year.

Asked if timeline can be set out for formation of Telangana before 2014 polls, Digvijay said: “President has given the state assembly 40 days. They have to send back their opinion and considered view….before January 23.” Asked whether he is confident that the process would get through given the animosity between Telangana and Seemandhra leaders on the issue, he said his effort was to bridge the divide.

On the current stand-off in the Assembly as the Seemandhra MLAs have sought a resolution favouring united Andhra Pradesh, he said: “This is a matter to be discussed and decided by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) (of the House). What discussions take place, I cannot influence. The Speaker and the BAC take up the issues which come before the Speaker. The BAC fixes the time and schedule.” To another query, Singh said a request can be made to the President to convene a special session of Parliament for a specific reason.

Asked about the spirited opposition by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to the state’s division, Singh said decision of the Congress Working Committee was binding on all Congressmen.
Commenting on reports that some Telangana Congress leaders had sought removal of the Chief Minister, Singh said several Telangana Congress leaders met him, but nobody made such a demand.

When reminded about his past remarks that the YSR Congress had Congress’s DNA, he said: “Have you asked this to Jagan? I still stand by what I said. Please ask Jagan.” Singh also said he would like to remind TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao about his remarks that he would be glad to merge his party with Congress if Telangana state is created.

Asked if the Rayala-Telangana proposal is still under consideration, he said: “All these considerations are before the legislature and after the opinion has been given clause by clause, the Government of India shall take a view.” Singh said there is a suggestion to form regional committees for Telangana and Seemandhra under the aegis of state Congress.

Asked if the time was now ripe to announce Rahul Gandhi as Congress’s prime ministerial candidate, as not announcing the PM nominee was seen as one of the reasons for the failure in Assembly polls, Singh said national issues did not influence state elections.

“It is wrong to say that success and failure happened because of prime ministerial candidate. State issues are different.”

Replying to a query about reported differences between Team Anna and Aam Admi Party, he said he recalled Hazare’s past comments that the funds were not being used for the purpose for which they were meant to be used.

When asked how he can he find fault with AAP at a time when an understanding between Congress and AAP in Delhi is being talked about, Digivijay said he merely reiterated what Anna Hazare had said.
When told about Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya’s offer to him to join the saffron party, he said he would remain in Congress till his last breath and continue to fight against communal ideology.

Asked about the proposals for Narendra Modi to contest from Varanasi and Lucknow, he said Congress would be happy to take on him anywhere.

To a query about reports that Nandan Nilekani is being considered for Prime Minister’s post, he said: “I don’t know about it.”