PM hopes parliament passes Telangana, anti-graft bills

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday expressed the hope that Parliament will approve the Telangana bill and anti-corruption bills during its session beginning Feb 5.

Speaking to reporters after an all-party meet ahead of the parliament session, the prime minister said: “This is going to be the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha. There is important legislation which is pending for approval by parliament.

“There is important legislation relating to anti-corruption measures. There is important legislation with regard to Women’s Reservation Bill. There is important business concerning the control of communal violence,” he added.

He said: “I sincerely hope that parliament, in its wisdom, will transact the essential business which is the primary concern of any legislature in a parliamentary democracy. And, of course, there is the vital issue of Telangana.”

The prime minister said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government wants to bring the Telangana Bill in parliament for its approval.

“I sincerely hope that after a long debate extending over many years, the house will, in its wisdom, be able to transact the business and pass the Bill relating to the creation of the state of Telangana,” the prime minister added.

The parliament session will begin Wednesday and end Feb 21.

The prime minister’s remarks assume significance as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is opposed to the division of the state, is planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the issue. The Andhra chief minister is in Delhi.

During the day, Manmohan Singh also met a delegation of Telangana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS) leaders and appealed to them that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh “should be peaceful”.

“Nothing should be said or done that can inflame passions. I appeal to all that the bifurcation process should be peaceful,” the prime minister told the delegation led by party chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The TRS leaders presented the prime minister with a memorandum on Telangana state, said the PMO.

The meeting with the prime minister took place even as opposition Telugu Desam Party workers gheraoed union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh in North Block. Ramesh had come for the Group of Ministers (GoM) meet for speeding up the carving of the new state out of Andhra Pradesh.

The protestors, who were soon whisked away, said the central government should show respect for the state assembly’s stand rejecting the bill.

YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy also wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar saying that his party would oppose the Telangana bill “tooth and nail”.

“It is the firm view of our party that the Telangana Bill should not be tabled in parliament after it was rejected by the state assembly. We have opposed the Bill and bifurcation of the state at many forums and will continue to do so in Parliament as we feel the division is undemocratic,” he said.

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