Telangana Bill Clears LS Test Amid TV Blackout; BJP, Congress Fight for Credit
Amid strong protest from Seemandhra MPs and unprecedented television blackout of proceedings, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed by a voice vote the historic Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, to carve out the separate State of Telangana.
Moving the Bill for consideration and passage along with 32 official amendments, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said it has not been an easy decision and every suggestion received had been evaluated and dealt with appropriately when the Bill was being prepared. As Shinde was reading his speech, Seemandhra MPs stormed the Well shouting slogans against the State’s bifurcation.
A two-tier security ring of eight Congress MPs was thrown around party chief Sonia Gandhi and Shinde to prevent a repeat of any unsavoury incident like the pepper spray attack by expelled by Congress leader and suspended MP L Rajagopal, who announced his resignation from Parliament soon after the Bill was passed.
Amid the din, Shinde hurriedly moved the Bill, which was passed after a brief discussion involving Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Union Minister Jaipal Reddy. Sushma said her party supports the Bill but questioned the way it was introduced at the fag end of UPA-II’s tenure. Swaraj also quipped that once the Bill is passed, members will give all the credit to Sonia Gandhi but they should not forget her and other BJP leaders who, she said, have been supporting the movement for a very long time. Her comments, however, did not go down well with an emotional Jaipal Reddy, who made it clear that the credit goes only to Sonia Gandhi.
During Swaraj’s speech, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain questioned the blackout of Lok Sabha TV. All other members were unaware that the live telecast had been suspended. The Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a clarification later saying it could not telecast the proceedings due to a “technical glitch”. Swaraj, however, said it was a “tactical glitch”.
YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy called for a bandh in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.