Lok Sabha passes Telangana bill by voice vote; Jagan calls for Andhra bandh tomorrow
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Telangana bill by voice vote amid attempts by several MPs to disrupt the proceedings. Chaos was the order of the day as MPs suspended for earlier fierce protests over the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh attempted to enter the House while the bill was being discussed. Full coverage: Telangana, the troubled state | Poll: Does creating more states weaken India or strengthen it?india Updated: Feb 18, 2014 19:23 IST
The Telangana bill was passed by voice vote in Lok Sabha under a blackout of live telecast on Tuesday.
An amendment to make Hyderabad the sole capital of Telangana was defeated, paving way for the city to become the joint capital of Telangana and Seemandhra for the next 10 years. “An unhealthy precedent has been created,” Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said after his amendment was rejected.
While several lawmakers including K Chandasekhar Rao and Ghulam Nabi Azad were seen celebrating, YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy called for a shutdown in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. “It is a black day in the history of India. We saw democracy being killed in broad daylight. The issue was taken up undemocratically against the will of the people of Andhra,” Reddy, who was earlier suspended for protests over the bifurcation of Andhra, said.
Seemandhra will get a special financial package, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.
The Telanganan bill will now go through the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
A Cabinet minister and three legislators of the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh resigned to protest the state's bifurcation.
Infrastructure minister G Srinivasa Rao resigned both from the cabinet and the party. He faxed his resignation letter to governor ESL Narasimhan, his aides said.
Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman M Kodandaram congratulated the people of Telangana after the Lok Sabha passed the bill to accord separate statehood to the region.
He dedicated the “victory to those who laid down their lives for Telangana state”.
Kodandaram said Andhra Pradesh was being divided into two states but the good relations with the people of Seemandhra would continue. Celebrations also began in Hyderabad after the move amid heavy deployment of security forces.
Chaos was the order of the day as MPs suspended for earlier fierce protests over the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh attempted to enter the House while the bill was being discussed.
Marshals were called in to stop the lawmakers from disrupting proceedings inside Parliament, while Speaker Meria Kumar asked for the telecast of the session to be stopped.
Unfazed by vociferous protests, the Central government on Tuesday moved the controversial Telangana bill for consideration and passage in Lok Sabha.
Shinde moved the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014 for consideration even though ministers and MPs from Seemandhra region trooped into the Well of the House opposing bifurcation of the state.
"I already moved the bill... it is to be taken into consideration and passing," said Shinde.
News channels reported that after last week's unprecedented scenes in Lok Sabha when expelled Seemandhra Congress MP L Rajagopal used pepper spray on the floor of the House, marshals, ambulances and fire brigade vehicles have been kept on a standby.
Vehicles approaching the Parliament building are being checked and barricades have been put all around the complex with riot police also deployed.
Members had to walk to Parliament building as the main entrance was blocked for vehicles. Their bags were also checked and they have been barred from filming videos or taking photos in the house.
The speaker will decide on whether lawmakers will also be frisked or subjected to a body scan, according to reports.
Sixteen members from the region, belonging to Congress, Telegu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress, were suspended from the House last Thursday till February 20 after unprecedented pandemonium.
Earlier, Shinde as well as Union minister Jairam Ramesh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to inform him about the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) stand.
The government on Monday had assured the BJP of addressing its concerns on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh before taking up the highly contentious Telangana bill for discussion in Lok Sabha.
The BJP has reiterated its unconditional support to the bill but asked the government to address its concerns including adequate compensation to Seemandhra and unbridled powers of the governor of the proposed states.
The government parleys came after Congress leaders from Seemandhra, including some ministers, met BJP veteran LK Advani demanding his party's support to seek adequate financial compensation for rest of Andhra Pradesh post bifurcation.
"We are in favour of Telangana but cannot disregard problems that will arise for Seemandhra," Advani said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is keen to see the passage of the bill in both Houses of Parliament in next two days, is likely to speak on the bill.
She also had chance interaction with BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu in Parliament during which she asked him if the BJP had changed its stand on Telangana.
She also deputed Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh to discuss and address issues raised by the BJP.
The two ministers held closed door meetings with BJP leaders Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu.
Jaitley pointed out that provisions relating to powers of governor in matters relating to protection of residents of Hyderabad — common capital for both states — as mentioned in the Telangana bill, can’t stand judicial scrutiny.
BJP leaders felt the bill that says the decision of the governor would be final in such matters, violates Article 163 of the Constitution. Governors are supposed to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers.
Unruly scenes in Lok Sabha
For the first time, CPI(M) members also joined the protest against creation of Telangana. They were carrying placards opposing bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and demanding that the measure should not be adopted without a debate.
Members from Telangana region were also in the Well seeking early creation of the separate state.
The home minister moved the bill for consideration amid uproar and din in the House over various issues.
Members belonging to various parties were also demanding passage of reservation in promotions and SC/ST sub-plan bill.
Speaker Meira Kumar tried to bring order in the House saying she has received notices of no-confidence motion and wanted to ascertain whether these are backed by 50 MPs. As the din continued, she adjourned the House till 3pm.
Earlier, as soon as Lok Sabha assembled for the day and Kumar paid tributes to a departed former MP Bheem Singh Patel, Congress members from Andhra Pradesh, including some central ministers, trooped into the Well.
They raised slogans to protest moves to carve out separate Telangana state.
Minister MM Pallam Raju stood in the aisle, while his ministerial colleague D Purandeshwari was in the Well.
AIADMK members were also in the Well protesting attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy.
Samajwadi Party's (SP) Shailendra Kumar, who too was in the Well, sought inclusion of some castes in the scheduled castes list while a member from Maharashtra demanded passage of SC/ST sub-plan bill.
The Speaker began the Question Hour but as the din continued, she adjourned the House till 12pm.
Ruckus in Rajya Sabha
In Rajya Sabha, TDP and AIADMK members rushed into the Well as soon as proceedings of the day started. TDP members were opposing bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, while AIADMK members referred to the plight of Tamil fishermen.
Holding placards, DMK members asked the Centre to move a resolution at UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against Sri Lanka.
As chairman Hamid Ansari's repeated pleas for order went unheeded, he adjourned the House till noon minutes after the day's proceedings began.
In Rajya Sabha, TDP and Congress members were in the well shouting slogans for a united Andhra Pradesh, while Gundu Sudha Rani (TDP) carried a poster that Telangana bill be brought in Parliament.
Naresh Agrawal of the SP rose to draw the attention of the House for inclusion of some backward castes in the SC/ST Bill.
Both BSP and SP members trooped into the Well raising slogans in support of this demand.
Amid slogan shouting and uproar, two bills - the Wakf Properties (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Bill, 2014 and the Delhi Hotels (Control of Accommodation) Repeal Bill, 2014, were introduced.
As the din continued, deputy chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the House till 2pm.
Andhra CM likely to quit
With the Centre appearing determined to go ahead with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh despite strong opposition from integrationists, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is said to have decided to resign from his post as well as leave the Congress on Tuesday.
Sources in the CM's camp said Reddy is expected to meet governor ESL Narasimhan around 3pm and submit his resignation.
HT sources have said that Reddy, who has been adopting a "wait and watch" policy all these days, is set to resign from the post soon after Lok Sabha takes up the Telangana bill for discussion. Andhra Congress sources said that Reddy has informed his confidants of the move.
"I will not preside over the bifurcation of AP," he is learnt to have told his supporters.
Though only about three or four of his Cabinet colleagues and a handful of MLAs are by his side on the resignation issue, Kiran is said to have made up his mind to quit after a vain fight on the bifurcation issue.
By relieving two of his special secretaries of their duties in a bureaucratic reshuffle on Monday night, the chief minister dropped enough hints that he was on his way out.
His principal secretary and another special secretary are also expected to be transferred out on Tuesday, leaving the CM's office empty.
However, there is no clarity yet on whether Reddy will float a new party.
Read:Security tightened in Seemandhra
Meanwhile, security in the Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh was 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.On the other hand, Telangana protagonists are preparing for celebrations as they expect Lok Sabha to give its nod to the bill.
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First Published: Feb 18, 2014 11:42 IST