The idea is to milk on Modi’s soaring popularity and pitch for package to Seemandhra. This would enable BJP enough to take on Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.
It was certainly not the first time but it was surely awkward. The biggest national parties, one in government and other sitting in opposition, worked so well with each other in passing a Bill that was the bone of contention for the government.
Bhartiya Janata Party gave it full support to Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to bifurcate the state and create Telangana as the 29th state of the country. With series of failed business days in the parliament, Congress had been able to pass the bill only because BJP extended its full support. Not only in the lower house, but in the upper house too, BJP helped Congress achieve its poll promise.
It turns out, behind this support was a masterstroke played by the leader of opposition in Parliament Arun Jaitley. According to Firstpost, when Congress party started back channel negotiation on Telangana, Seemandhra leaders simultaneously began to meet BJP leaders. Veteran leader LK Advani held the view that BJP should come to power and grant statehood to Telangana in style and, in return, gain from it. But Jaitley was against this view.
Jaitley thought that the issue was contentious and it will create problems for the new BJP government coming to power after 10 long years. Not only him, other important leaders of the party including Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi, agreed with him too.
We all are aware of the fact that NDA had proposed to create Telangana along with Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh, but the key ally TDP led it to abort the idea. Jaitley’s belief in creation of this state was strengthened by the fact that the party’s Andhra Pradesh unit comprises mostly of leaders from Telangana. This gave him all the more reason to support the creation of a separate Telangana state as it was in the best interest of the BJP.
While Sushma Swaraj may have earned criticism for her relentless support to the Congress party over the bill even when the Lok Sabha proceedings were stopped, the party took care of the damage by ensuring constant attack on the manner the bill was introduced in the parliament.
Venkaiah Naidu, who is from Seemandhra, issued a written statement saying he is “angry with the process of introduction and passage of the bill”. He even added, “Congress is solely responsible for this.” BJP’s plan was to stall the bill in the parliament and make it difficult for the government. They insisted on amendments and Jaitley backed this route.
The leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that specifics in the financial package are inserted and that the live telecast must not be stopped during the bill’s passage in Rajya Sabha. However, the Government succeeded bulldozing BJP’s intentions and stuck with no amendments policy as the bill would then have to go back to the Lok Sabha for ratification. Insertion of an additional financial package in the bill would have also started fresh procedural processes, including taking prior assent from the President.
BJP then tried to force the PM for making certain commitments for Seemandhra on the floor of the House and have debate with the party. This way, BJP succeeded in showing that it had the best interest of both, Telangana and Seemandhra, in heart. Nonetheless, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu was expected to be impresses by this gig.
The idea is to milk on Modi’s soaring popularity and pitch for package to Seemandhra. This would enable BJP enough to take on Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. As political writer Sanjay Singh says, “Between the two Leaders of Opposition in Parliament, Jaitley has earned fresh admiration from his peers. Sushma has earned admiration among Telangana supporters outside of the party. If Sonia is amma, Sushma is chinamma, If Sonia is Mata for Telangana, Sushma is Mausi.”