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Jagan calls for Andhra bandh, CM might quit over Telangana

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 19, 2014
First Published: 08:46 IST(19/2/2014) | Last Updated: 11:44 IST(19/2/2014)

A day after the contentious Telangana bill was passed in Lok Sabha, it is likely to be placed before Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, where the ruling dispensation does not enjoy a majority.

Congress strategists have not rule out the possibility of the BJP pushing further amendments to the bill in the Upper House.

Any change in the bill will require a fresh approval from Lok Sabha as well, which might delay its passage.

Among other political fallouts of the bifurcation, state chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has been resisting the division, resigned on Wednesday.

Read: Andhra CM Kiran Reddy resigns over creation of Telangana

The state is also likely to see a bandh called by YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy who had said that the decision to create Telangana was a "black day" for the country.

In the light of last week's proceedings in Lok Sabha when Seemandhra MP L Rajagopal sprayed pepper and another MP broke a microphone 16 MPs were suspended, all eyes are now on the Upper House.

Meanwhile, security in the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh has been beefed up and forces were put on alert to meet any eventuality on the law and order front.

"We are monitoring the situation... police in districts have already been asked to be on alert... depending upon the situation we will take appropriate action," additional director general of police (law and order) VSK Kaumudi said.

Ever since the Centre took a decision last year to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana, agitational programmes such as bandhs, massive protests and demonstrations were being held in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (collectively called Seemandhra) against the move.

Read: Separate statehood for Telangana: A struggle of decades

Bill passed in Lok Sabha
The process to create Telangana, India's 29th state, crossed the major Lok Sabha hurdle on Tuesday with the BJP coming in support of the UPA to clear the Andhra Pradesh State Re-organisation Bill amid din.

The House saw a rare scene when the bill's supporters had to frequently stand up for head count as Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar chose to ignore the repeated demand for a division or voting.

Read: Nation shut out, Lok Sabha clears Telangana bill

The live telecast in Lok Sabha TV also went off air suddenly. Lok Sabha secretariat later cited technical problems for the blackout.

During the past few months, several Congress lawmakers have been protesting for and against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

On Tuesday, as the bill was slated for a discussion and passage, Trinamool Congress and its arch rival, Left parties, together jammed the Well of the House. Samajwadi Party and a few Congress MPs and ministers from Seemandhra also stood in the Well.

TMC members were shouting "aaj ka din kala hai, Rahul-Modi joda hai and Sushma-Sonia jodi hai (today is a black day as Rahul and Modi and Sushma and Sonia have ganged up)".

After the first two attempts to pass the bill failed at 12pm and 12.45pm due to din, Lok Sabha finally took up the matter at 3pm.

A significant part of the visitors' gallery was cleared minutes after home minister Sushilkumar Shinde sought leave of the House for the passage of the bill.

Edit: Shutting off the telecast on Telangana bill was not prudent

The House looked a virtual battle-ground with Congress members protecting Shinde and other top leaders from protesting members.

Trinamool's Saugata Roy and Hyderabad-based MIM's Asaduddin Owaisi placed several amendments, which were not accepted.

While Roy repeatedly demanded division or voting, the speaker ignored the appeals and instead adopted the old method of head-counting to decide on the majority mark.

An agitated Ray protested, "We are not sheep. Why are the members being asked to stand to count their heads?"

Although BJP's Sushma Swaraj announced at the beginning of her speech that her party supports the creation of Telangana, she accused Sonia Gandhi of delaying the issue for almost 10 years.

"You (Gandhi) cannot control your own MPs, chief minister and ministers. We had created three states smoothly, without any bloodshed," Swaraj said.

Moments after the passage, YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, who was suspended last week for disruptions in the House, said democracy has been killed in broad day light, he said.

While the UPA managed the BJP’s support for the bill, the saffron party’s PM pick Narendra Modi hit out at the Congress at a rally in Karnataka and said Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had not time to visit Andhra Pradesh or Hyderabad and that the Congress had hurt the people of Telangana.

Participating in the debate, an emotional Jaipal Reddy reminded that the Telangana struggle was the longest agitation for a separate state in the country.
 
"I assure Soniaji (Gandhi), as long as I am alive we shall not allow any discrimination with outsiders in Telangana."

Read: Is Rayala-Telangana a Congress trial balloon?

Full coverage: The Telangana tangle


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