The decision on separate Telangana had its echo in Parliament on the opening day of the Monsoon Session with both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessing repeated disruptions over the issue amid demands for creation of new states including Bodoland.
A man stands outside the Parliament building as lawmakers arrive in cars to cast their vote in Presidential election in New Delhi. AP photo/Manish Swarup
The two Houses witnessed slogan shouting by members from Andhra Pradesh against the proposal to form Telangana and demanding justice to the people of the Seemandhra region.
Some of them were also carrying placards favouring a united Andhra Pradesh while some were holding copies of a news item in which TRS Chief K Chandrasekar Rao had reportedly told employees from Seemandhra region to leave Telangana.
At one point, TDP member N Sivaprasad walked up to one of the protestors from Congress with a threatening gesture but was stopped by his party colleagues.
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath tried to pacify the members but could not be heard in the din.
Lok Sabha, as also Rajya Sabha, witnessed three adjournment by 3 PM as agitated members belonging to both Congress and TDP in the Lok Sabha and TDP members in the Rajya Sabha stormed the Well chanting slogans "We want justice".
At one point in the Rajya Sabha, deputy chairman PJ Kurien remarked that two members - YSR Chowdhary and CM Ramesh (both TDP) - were holding the House to ransom.
Bodoland People's Front (BPF) member SK Bwiswmuthiary walked into the Well in Lok Sabha with a banner that read: "Bodoland MPs strongly stand for a separate state of Bodoland".
Speaker Meira Kumar asked the agitating members to go back to their seats but her request went unheeded. After one starred question was taken up amid din, she adjourned the House till noon.
In the Rajya Sabha, Biswajit Daimary (Bodoland People's Front) entered the Well carrying a placard.
While TPD members raised banners against division of Andhra Pradesh, Daimary held banner that read: "If Telangana, Why Not Bodoland?"
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday appealed to the Opposition to cooperate in smooth functioning of Parliament and said government is willing to discuss all issues during the Monsoon Session.
"We have wasted a lot of time in the last two-three sessions and hope this is not repeated in this session," Singh told reporters outside Parliament.
"Government is willing to discuss all issues on the floor of the House", he said while urging the Opposition to ensure that the session is "truly productive and constructive with solid results".
The ruling dispensation has listed 44 legislations to be passed during the August 5 to 30 session. The session offers a 16-day window to the UPA to push several long-pending bills, in both social and economic sectors.
The UPA managers are also looking forward to the session to end the almost two years' 'drought' it faces in terms of passing key bills which include the food security bill, those related to reforms in the insurance and pension sectors and an amendment to the RTI Act to keep political parties out of its ambit.
During the past six sessions or 24 months, the UPA had been able to pass just 49 bills and it sits on the record number of pending legislations (116). The last two years have not seen any significant financial reforms related bill getting the approval of the government.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday gave top priority to the approval of the food security ordinance in the upcoming monsoon session of parliament.
Emerging out of the all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, Singh on Saturday said: "Of all the ordinances before parliament, the most important is the food security ordinance. I sincerely hope parliament will convert the ordinance into a bill." Read more...
READ: PM appeals to Oppn for smooth Parliament session
Hitting back after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi came out in support of a suspended IAS officer who took on the sand mafia in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party said on Sunday it would not back the UPA's ambitious food security bill.
Ruling out support for the food entitlement ordinance "in its current form", SP leader Naresh Agarwal said, "If needed, we will vote against the bill" -- a clear indication that the suspension will play out big when Parliament opens for monsoon session on Monday. Read more...
The NDA on Sunday said it was willing to cooperate with the government on its legislative agenda in the monsoon session but the opposition should be given space to raise issues of national interest such as Uttarakhand tragedy and the Ishrat Jahan case.
After a meeting of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) floor leaders at the residence of senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani, BJP's Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said if legislation is crucial for the government, articulation of issues of national interest was vital for the opposition.
The opposition contended that it will support passage of important financial bills provided it is given opportunity to flag issues like state of the economy and the sliding Rupee, Telangana, Uttarakhand, China's aggression, the tiff between the IB and CBI, Food Security Bill and frequent hikes in petrol and diesel prices.
The BJP has agreed to help the government get the pensions Bill, which would provide for up to 26% FDI in pension fund management companies, passed in Parliament. The Bill also provides for assured returns, a point that the BJP had been pushing for.
The BJP will also support the food security Bill, but with amendments. The BJP has showcased its Chhattisgarh food security model as "ideal", and better than that of the Centre.
While it wouldn't risk being painted anti-poor by not supporting the Bill, the BJP would want its stamp on the bill too.
READ: Telangana bill might face opposition in Parliament
The CPI-M wants discussion on the government's recent move to allow more foreign equity in many sectors.
The meeting was attended by leaders of Shiv Sena, Shriomani Akali Dal and Haryana Janhit Congress.
The Opposition plans to corner the government on the economic crisis and rake up the FDI issue to create a rift in the UPA.
The Opposition wants debates on the land acquisition bill, the state of the economy, rampant corruption in the mid-day meal scheme, floods in Uttarakhand, the ongoing tussle between the CBI and the IB in the Ishrat Jahan shootout case and Chinese intrusions into the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
READ: 44 bills in 16 days of Parliament: will Opposition play ball?
The Opposition leaders are also concerned over another Supreme Court order barring reservation in super-speciality courses in medical colleges.
RJD boss Lalu Prasad probably had summed up the situation for the UPA when he said at the Thursday’s all-party meeting: "whatever you (the government) would like to do to protect the supremacy of Parliament, do it during this monsoon session. There may not be another session before the polls."
Prasad's comments were in the backdrop of the recent Supreme Court judgments to bar criminals from contesting elections and holding office as MPs and MLAs.
Terming the National Food Security Ordinance as the Food Insecurity Ordinance for Tamil Nadu, chief minister J Jayalalithaa has urged the Centre to amend the bill that will replace the ordinance.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dated August 2, the text of which was released to the media in Chennai on Saturday, Jayalalithaa has suggested amending the bill so that allocation of foodgrain to those states that are implementing a public distribution system delivering a higher level of coverage than the ordinance provides for is protected. Read more...
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)