Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Kishenchand Advani on Tuesday evening challenged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring a bill on separate Telangana state in the ensuing session of Parliament from May 10.a
Addressing a public meeting in Hyderabad as part of his ‘Bharat Suraksha Yatra’, Advani said the Congress had promised to create a separate Telangana in its manifesto for the 2004 Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh. The Congress had also entered into electoral understanding with Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which was formed to spearhead the movement for separate Telangana state.
He accused the Congress of going back on its promise and not taking any steps to create a separate Telangana state in the last two years after regaining power.
Now, the Congress tells TRS to ask the BJP for support (for separate Telangana). What is the Congress doing about its promise?” he asked.
“I throw open a challenge to the prime minister and the chief minister. If you are sincere, you bring a bill on Telangana state in Parliament session from May 10 to 23. The BJP will support the bill,” he added.
Advani said the BJP was for smaller states from the beginning. The BJP had promised to carve out smaller states from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
After the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance came to power, the Union government created Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh by enacting legislation unanimously in Parliament.
Referring to other local issues, Advani said he had written a letter to the prime minister requesting him to do justice to the Scheduled Castes in Andhra Pradesh on the categorisation issue. He said that during his yatra in Andhra Pradesh in the last few days, he had received numerous representations from Dalits seeking the BJP’s support for SC categorisation. “No one can ignore your just demand,” he told the Dalits.
Alleging that the UPA government had woken up to the Naxalite threat after ‘deep slumber’ in the last two years, he said the family members of more than 60 victims of Naxalite violence had gathered at the venue of the public meeting Tuesday. Naxalites killed youth, farmers and other innocent people without any rhyme or reason.
He recalled that when he visited the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad office in Hyderabad 15 years ago, he was shocked to find on the walls the pictures of ABVP activists who were killed by Naxalites in the state.
Recalling Dr Singh’s words that India faced the biggest threat from Naxalites and that the problem could be tackled with a unified command, he said the UPA realised the gravity of the problem very late.
He recalled that the NDA had curbed this problem with an iron hand, treating it as a national problem and not a state-specific issue. The NDA government had formed a unified command and set up a coordination committee headed by the Union home secretary to tackle the Naxalite menace.
Advani alleged that farmers were driven to desperation all over the country due to the policies pursued by the UPA government at the Centre. Farmers’ suicides were reported from all over the country, and more so from Andhra Pradesh. Over 4,000 farmers committed suicide in this state alone in the last two years.
The BJP, he said, would raise the demand for constituting a Joint Parliamentary Committee to look into this issue and recommend measures for the welfare of the farmers in the ensuing session of Parliament.
Advani also lashed out at the Congress government in the state for earmarking 5 percent reservations for Muslims in educational institutions and public employment in the state.
The Congress wanted to derive political advantage from the move but the state high court struck down the reservations for Muslims as unconstitutional.
He urged the prime minister as well as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to read the debates of the Constituent Assembly on this issue.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had declared that there could be no reservations on the basis of religion.
By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad