Who Made Telangana State Possible?
- Jaipal claims a key role
- Vundavalli rakes up issue
- Kodandaram butts in
Hyderabad: It was all started by Vundavalli Arun Kumar with his rather strange claim that the AP Reorganisation Bill 2014 was not passed by Lok Sabha on 18 February 2014 as told by Speaker Meira Kumar. He recently published a book, ‘Vibhajana Katha…Naa Diaryloo Konni Pageelu’ in which he alleged that senior Parliamentarian and the then Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy had told the Speaker that headcount would be enough and actual division is not needed to declare that the Reorganisation Bill is passed. Arun said Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, was present during the meeting in Speaker’s chamber. The book was recently released by Justice Chalameswar in Hyderabad.
Soon after the book release, Jaipal Reddy held a press conference to contest the content of the book. He said although he played an important role in the process of dividing the State, he did not advise the Speaker, as alleged by Vundavalli, that the lights may be switched off and TV sets be stopped for a while and then declare that the Bill was passed. The main allegation of Arun Kumar was that the Bill was not actually passed even according to Rule 367-3 where headcount has to take openly.
After both the leaders accused each other of distorting the facts, they sat for a debate anchored by Radhakrishna of ABN in Open Debate. While Jaipal was sitting with RK in the studio in Hyderabad, Vundavalli was speaking from Rajamahendravaram through video conference. T-JAC chairman Prof Kodandram was brought in through phone-in briefly. So were TRS MP Jitender Reddy and former Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar.
Vundavalli had made it very clear that he is not against Telangana and even if his argument that the reorganisation Bill was not passed is proved correct nothing is going to alter and the old United AP cannot be revived. His only purpose in penning the book was to prevent such incidents in future.
Jaipal Reddy clarified that he had told the Speaker that there was no need for a Constitutional Amendment to bifurcate the State and a headcount is enough to pass the Bill. Both Meira Kumar and Sushma Swaraj had agreed with him and accepted his suggestion. LK Advani also stood up when the heads were counted, the former minister said. Before that the pointsman of the Congress party and Minister for Parliamentary affairs Kamalnath was very pessimistic and expressed his helplessness. It was at that historic moment that he made both Sushma and Kamalnath to reach an understanding. Rest of the things suggesting that he was the author of a plot to switch off the lights and TV sets and to pretend to have counted the heads was entirely a figment of Vundavalli’s imagination. He described Vundavalli’s book as political fiction in which he indulged in irresponsible guesswork to malign his character. He did not make any claims on his role so far with the sole idea that AICC president Sonia Gandhi should get all the credit that is due to her. Jaipal sail K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) had absolutely no role in passing the Bill. KCR was not aware of what transpired in Speaker’s chamber, he said.
Jaipal also clarified that he never said KCR will be the chief minister whether the State is divided or not as written by Vundavalli in his book. He said he is otherwise happy with Vundavalli for the kind words he wrote on him.
TJAC chairman Kodandram affirmed that Jaipal Reddy had played an important role in creation of separate State of Telangana. He used his experience and intelligence in giving suggestions to the Speaker within the Constitutional limits. The division took place because of the initiative taken by Jaipal Reddy and Telangana MPs. The negative attitude of the Andhra MPs had harmed the interests of the residual AP, he commented. Ponnam Prabhakar, Karimnagar MP in the 15th Lok Sabha, had supported the argument of Jaipal Reddy. He tried to pull KCR’s leg when he said while the Telangana Congress MPs were struggling for statehood, KCR was enjoying his life at his farmhouse.
However, TRS MP Jitender Reddy claimed that KCR had met all the leaders of all the parties in Parliament and made them accept the demand for separate statehood. There was no role for Jaipal Reddy or any other leader. This debate will go on without reaching a logical end for some years.