Bring Telangana Bill during budget session: BJP to UPA

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Vijayawada, Feb 2: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today demanded that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre bring in a bill on Telangana during the budget session of Parliament and assured its support to the Bill.

''If you have political will, introduce the Bill and the BJP will support it,'' BJP Andhra Pradesh unit President and former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told a press conference here.

He said that if the BJP-led NDA Government was voted to power in the 2009 general elections, it would take steps to carve out Telangana State. If a Telangana State came into existence, Andhra State would have to be naturally developed with the existing resources.

Charging the Congress Government with 'side-tracking' the Telangana sentiment, Mr Dattatreya said the State Congress leaders were rushing to Delhi and making statements that UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was in favour of separate Telangana, but the Congress leader in-charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh M Veerappa Moily was talking differently on the issue.

The BJP leader said a member of the Pranab Mukherjee Committee on Telangana and RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad had stated that the Congress had not given any letter to the Committee to make its stand clear. He had only said the UPA was trying for 'consensus' on the issue, he added.

Asking the Congress leaders not to deceive and confuse people by giving contradictory statements on the issue, he asked Ms Gandhi to announce her party's stand on the issue without any delay and state whether the Pranab Mukherjee Committee was functioning or not.

Mr Dattatreya claimed that the Congress would be wiped out in the next elections if it continued to drag on the issue.

The party had visited 6,400 villages and started Telangana Kranti Santakala Sankranti (signature revolution) by taking signatures from the people. The State BJP leaders would leave for New Delhi by a special train this month and submit the signature campaign list to President Pratibha Patil, he added.

He alleged that Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was opposed to the formation of separate Telangana and recalled that when he was the leader of the Opposition, he had submitted a memorandum to Ms Gandhi in favour of separate Telangana, but now he was acting differently after coming to power.

Mr Dattatreya said the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and NDA Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani would visit the State on March eight and address a rally in Hyderabad. The two-day BJP State Executive meeting would be held here from February 19, in which the political situation in the State would be discussed and the cadre would be geared up for the Parliamentary and Assembly elections. It would also evolve an action plan in the meeting, he said.

The party's main poll plank for the coming elections would be political corruption, he said and demanded that the State Government release a 'white paper' on the construction of irrigation projects taken up by the Rajasekhara Reddy Government.

Mr Dattatreya asked the State Government to bring in a new land acquisition act by repealing the 1857 Act and announce compensation to the farmers who had lost their lands for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

The Government should immediately announce remunerative price for agricultural produce like paddy, chilli, maize and cotton by earmarking a fund of Rs 10,000 crore through Markfed, he demanded and said the Government should also procure their produce through Markfed.

Mr Dattatreya alleged that the Rajasekhara Reddy Government was neck-deep in corruption and referred to the reports of the Vigilance Commission and CAG which found irregularities in the execution of irrigation projects.

He alleged that the State Government had additionally released Rs 4.7 crore to contractors under the Kalvakurthy lift irrigation scheme and said merely suspending the engineers would not solve the problem and the real culprits should be booked.

UNI

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