It was not only the image of Parliament that was pepper-sprayed and muscled out of shape, but also the fate of the Telangana Bill that seeks to carve out 29th state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Despite the suspension of 16 unruly Seemandhra MPs by Lok Speaker Meira Kumar under Rule 374 (A) that pertains to grave disorder by members obstructing the business of the House, whether the T-bill can passed by the 15th Lok Sabha remains in the realm of conjecture. With the principal Opposition BJP, whose support is crucial for the passage of the T-Bill, disputing the very introduction of the Bill, the ruling Congress appeared iffy about its future prospects.
Admitting that the passage of the Bill in the last of session of the 15th Lok Sabha “is a million dollar question”, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed that his party has “bitten the bullet”, but the Opposition “appears to be in agreement” but was doing “precious little” else.
But the BJP, which was in principle agreed to support the Bill provided a compensation package for Seemandhra and including certain amendments they were proposed in the Bill, has backtracked citing the Congress’ in-House mismanagement, which according to them, “reduced the Lok Sabha session into a fiasco”.It also reduced the Lok Sabha from an arena of law making to a wrestling ground where the introduction of the Bill was not clear to the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and senior BJP leader L K Advani. Both of them had a sharp exchange with Speaker Meria Kumar at her Chamber when the latter asked whether Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde indeed introduced the Bill.
The T-bill is now slated to be taken up again on Tuesday for discussion and passage, not for Monday which has been tentatively kept for the passage of the Railway Budget. The absence of the 16 suspended MPs may not suffice, if the Opposition refuses to back the Bill. Sources said that the BJP, which has stitched up an alliance with the TDP which opposed to the Bill, may not oblige the Congress to the detriment of its ally. And the TDP could be the biggest loser in a multi-cornered contest in Seemandhra, if the T-bill is passed.
However, it seems, upset Congress chief Sonia Gandhi conveyed to her party’s parliamentary managers to push the Bill through any which way.
Nonetheless, the Congress matriarch’s wishes may be granted this time.