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Andhra split & consent delinked

New Delhi, Dec. 10: The Centre today signalled it would press ahead with Telangana, asserting that creating the new state without the concurrence of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly “will not be a bad precedent”.

“It is not a bad precedent, it was our promise and it is according to the law… the Centre has been allowed to divide a state without a resolution (backing the plan) in the Assembly,” home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said today, asked if the bifurcation without state approval would set a bad precedent.

Andhra’s Congress chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is opposed to the split. Yesterday, six Seemandhra Congress MPs were among those who sent a notice of no-confidence against the Centre to the Lok Sabha Speaker, embarrassing their party a day after poll debacles in four states.

Today, Shinde suggested the process was on track and the Centre was determined to get the bill passed. “We are sending it (the bill to Assembly) and it will be passed in Parliament,” the minister said, without giving a time frame.

He said President Pranab Mukherjee was yet to refer the bill to the state, although government sources had said yesterday it was being sent to Hyderabad.

Sources said Mukherjee’s departure to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service had delayed the despatch of the bill to the Assembly. Mukherjee may send it on his return, granting the Assembly up to six weeks, the sources said.

But if the Assembly takes more than three weeks, the bill may not be introduced in Parliament’s ongoing winter session ending December 20.

Shinde pointed out that the Congress manifestos for the 2004 and 2009 polls had mentioned the creation of Telangana. The comments were seen as another pointer to the Centre’s resolve to get the bill passed irrespective of the Assembly’s stance.

According to Article 3 of Constitution, the Centre has powers to form new states and alter the areas, boundaries or names of existing ones.

The Assembly’s views are not binding on the Centre. But such disagreements never preceded the creation of new states in the past, officials said.

The Union cabinet had last week cleared a 10-district Telangana — as originally proposed by the Congress in July — and rejected a proposal by a Shinde-led ministerial panel that two Rayalaseema pockets be added to the new state.