NEW DELHI: Eight Congress MPs belonging to the Telangana region raised slogans and waved placards in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, demanding that a separate Telangana state be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, forcing three adjournments of the House.
The party high command immediately suspended the eight MPs. The suspension means that for four days, the Congress-led UPA Government will be eight short in the Lok Sabha.
While the action against the eight MPs was taken on the first day of second phase of the Budget session, they had been constantly disrupting the proceedings of the House for several days in the first phase of the session (which ended on March 30). Undeterred by the action on Tuesday, the suspended members staged a dharna in the House, forcing its adjournment for the day.
On Tuesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal approached Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj for support on the issue. This was revealed by Swaraj. Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee also held talks with Swaraj and other Opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal’s (United) Sharad Yadav, and CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta, on the issue.
When Bansal was asked what the government would do when Telangana Rashtriya Samiti again raises the separate Statehood demand in the House, he said that the number of MPs would be “few” (and “hence the proceedings of the House won’t be disturbed”). Bansal was later at pains to explain that the move was “a disciplinary action” and was not connected to the Telangana demand per se.
The Opposition parties, however, lashed out at the government for failing to control their own MPs and reneging on their promise of a separate Telangana.
“The Congress members are not in control even in the presence of the Congress president. Congress should reply whether it has hold over its parliamentary party... A lot of time of the House has been wasted by members of the ruling party,” said BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.