As GoM on Telangana is in place, Antony panel wound up

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NEW DELHI, October 15:   As the process to create the separate Telangana has been moved to the government level from the Congress party with the setting up of GoM, the Committee headed by Defence Minister and Congress’s trouble-shooter A.K. Antony, set up by the party leadership to hear the grievances of the Seemandhra leaders, seems to have been silently wound up.

“I don’t know the present status of the committee. But myself and Mr. Antony have been included in the GoM,” said senior Congress leader and Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily, who was a member of the Antony Committee.

Mr. Moily told The Hindu on Monday that the committee, in fact, interacted with the leaders of the Seemandhra and Telangana regions, and had several sittings. He replied in the negative when asked whether the committee gave any interim report to the government. Party seniors Digvijaya Singh and Ahmad Patel were the other members of the Committee.

Informed sources said the Antony panel could not function owing to the ill-health and hospitalisation of the Defence Minister for nearly a month and he joined duty only on Monday.

Earlier, the party had appointed the Pranab Mukherjee Committee (now President) to look into the Telangana demand. This too could not complete its work and was wound up silently. When the then AP Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, was alive he appointed a committee headed by then Finance Minister K. Rosaiah Committee (now Governor of Tamil Nadu), at the AP government level, to look into the separate State issue, but that panel too was a non-starter.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has sent letters to six MPs from Seemandhra to appear in person before her at their convenience to seek clarification with regard to their letter of resignation from the House.

The MPs who have been sent such letters are: G.V. Harsha Kumar, K. Bapiraju, R.Sambasiva Rao, M. Sreenivasalu Reddy (all Congress), K. Narayana (TDP) and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (YSRCP).

Besides these, seven MPs from Seemandhra, who have earlier sent their letter of resignation, recently met the Speaker personally and pressed for acceptance of their letter.

LS officials pointed out that under Article 101(3)(b) of the Constitution, when such a letter of resignation was received, the Speaker had to make an appropriate enquiry as she deemed fit, to get satisfied that the member has taken such a decision on his/her own volition.

There is no time frame fixed in the Constitution or the rule of procedure for the Speaker to take her decision on such resignation issue. It is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Speaker and no one could intervene. The Speaker’s decision has to be taken carefully and there is no room for urgency, the officials said.

The MPs who have already met the Speaker pressing for their resignation are: S.P.Y. Reddy, A. Sai Prathap, L. Rajagopal, A. Venkatarami Reddy, V. Arun Kumar, Sabbam Hari (all Congress) and Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy (YSRCP).

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