If the Centre's efforts fructify, a Bill to increase the number of Assembly segments in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh without altering the existing number of Lok Sabha seats could be introduced in the ongoing Parliament session.
The Bill will amend the AP Reorganisation Act. On Tuesday, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M. Venkaiah Naidu held detailed consultations with higher officials of the home, law and legislation ministries and instructed them to take steps to prepare an amendment to the AP Reorganisation Act that proposes to increase the number of Assembly seats in Telangana to 153 from present 119, and to 225 from present 175 in AP.
Mr Venkaiah Naidu told newsmen that the purpose of providing a separate section in the Act to increase the Assembly seats was intended to complete the exercise before 2026. He said the Centre in principle had come to the conclusion that enhancing the number of seats was based on the provisions made in the bifurcation Act.
“The Centre received letters from both the Chief Ministers, and then by the chief secretaries seeking implementation of Section 26. This we cannot ignore,” he said. Tuesday's meeting was the second of the series, and officials were given clear instructions to prepare the draft amendment Bill. The first meeting had decided to seek the opinion of the Attorney General.
Chief Ministers K. Chandrasekhar Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu had earlier met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Rajnath Singh and written letters requesting them to implement the assurance given in the Reorganisation Act.
TS IT minister K.T. Rama Rao and Karimnagar MP B. Vinod Kumar, who moved a private member Bill in the Lok Sabha on increasing the Assembly seats, had also met the Union ministers. “It is most likely an amendment will be moved in Parliament after the recess. Once it is approved, fresh delimitation of seats will be taken up by the Election Commission.” Mr Vinod Kumar told this newspaper.
Centre takes u-turn on Assembly seats:- Section 26 of the AP Reorganisation Act talks about increasing the number of Assembly seats in TS and AP. It states that the increase in seats is subject to the provisions of Article 170 of the Constitution. Article 170 (3) says delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats would be taken up only after 2026. For the last few months, the Centre has been saying that increasing the Assembly seats will not be possible since Article 170 says that fresh delimitation should be taken up after 2016.
The Centre had said if it obliges TS and AP, similar demands might come up from other states, especially those that were formed after bifurcation. That stand seems to be changing.