T-Bill: Congress Expels Six Andhra MPs; Sabbam Hari Threatens Self-Immolation
Cracking the whip, Congress expelled six Lok Sabha MPs from Seemandhra who had given a notice of no-confidence motion against Government opposing bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Faced with dissent in Andhra Pradesh, the party intended to send a strong message to those opposing creation of separate state with this decision but a dozen odd party MPs still maintained that they will vote against the Telangana bill when it comes to Parliament.
"Congress president Sonia Gandhi has approved the decision of the disciplinary committee of the AICC to expel the six MPs from Andhra Pradesh with immediate effect," said AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi in a press release.
The MPs expelled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi are Sabbam Hari, G V Harsha Kumar, V Arun Kumar, L Rajagopal, R Sambasiva Rao and A Sai Pratap.
All these MPs had signed the notice of non-confidence motion along with some MPs from other parties like TDP and the party has sought to give a strong message on Telangana issue by taking this "unprecedented" step.
Congress MP Ananta Venkatrami Reddy, who is among the 12 party MPs from Seemandhra who did not sign on the notice for no-confidence, told PTI, "we are totally against the bill for the bifurcation of the state and will vote against it when it comes to the House. We will see that the bill is defeated."
There are 25 MPs from the Seemandhra region including 18 from Congress, three from YSR Congress and four from TDP.
Maintaining he along with other Congress MPs from Seemandhra are also opposing the bill, Reddy said,"but how can we put a no-confidence motion against our own government. One thing is clear that we are totally opposed to the Telangana bill."
The stand by the party MPs from Seemandhra could be a cause of worry for Congress, which is repeatedly asserting that it remains committed to the creation of Telangana.
Asked about the expulsion of party MPs, AICC general secretary Ajay Maken said that Congress is committed to the creation of Telangana and the latest move is another step in that direction.
The move comes days after the Union Cabinet cleared the proposal for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana.
The bill was approved by the Union Cabinet on Friday, notwithstanding rejection by the state Assembly.
Under the proposal, Telangana will comprise 10 districts and the rest of Andhra Pradesh 13 districts.
Hyderabad will remain the common capital for both the states for a period not exceeding 10 years.
The President yesterday gave his nod for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh by approving the legislation.
There have been indications from the government that the bill on Telangana will be brought before Parliament in a couple of days.
Sabbam Hari and some other members had given a notice of no-confidence motion against the government a few days back. Hari has also threatened self-immolation if the state is bifurcated.
With the decision to expel the MPs, Congress apparently seeks to send a strong message to party members including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy who are fiercely opposing creation of Telangana even as the party has made up its mind on the issue.
Both the party and the government have repeatedly reiterated their commitment to creation of the separate state.
Meanwhile, contrary to earlier expectations, the Telangana bill will now be introduced in Lok Sabha first instead of Rajya Sabha with the government seeking a fresh recommendation from the President after the Upper House secretariat has held it as a money bill.
Sources said the move comes after questions were raised over the constitutionality of introducing the bill first in the Upper House.
Sabbam Hari, one of the expelled Congress MPs from Anakapalli, threatened self-immolation in Lok Sabha if the government tabled the Telangana bill.
"I am going to immolate myself in the Well of Lok Sabha if any attempt is made to introduce the Telangana bill," Lok Sabha MP Sabbam Hari told PTI.
Hari claimed that two more of his colleagues in Lok Sabha would also join him in self-immolation. He, however, did not disclose their names.
The Seemandhra Congress MP's move came as the Centre sought a fresh recommendation from the President to introduce the Telangana bill in the Lower House.
The government had earlier decided to introduce the bill in Rajya Sabha first
The issue of the separate state rocked both the Houses of Parliament leading to several adjournments.
The government proposes to bring the Telangana bill in the current session despite sharp divide among political parties, including ruling Congress, over the issue.
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