Lok Sabha passes Telangana Bill amidst pandemonium
18 February 2014
The Lok Sabha today passed the bill to carve out Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh amid din and strong protests by members from the Seemandhra region.
The lower house of Parliament passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014 by a voice vote along with several official amendments, with support from the main opposition Bhartiya Janata Party.
The government, which, rushed through the bill amidst the din in the Lok Sabha, said the legislation will be taken up in the upper house immediately.
The bill was passed after a very brief discussion in which only leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj and minister Jaipal Reddy, a pro-Telangana leader from Andhra Pradesh, spoke.
Moving the bill in the Lok Sabha, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the centre will give a special financial package to Seemandhra, to address the grievances of the people of that region.
The government, however, rejected a number of amendments moved by AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi and Trinamool Congress member Sougata Roy.
The live telecast by Lok Sabha TV, meanwhile, stopped for 90 minutes during a clause by clause consideration of the bill before its passage.
Several members protested at the way the bill was passed in the din, saying it was against all democratic norms and should be considered as a ''black day'' in the country's democracy.
Senior BJP leaser L K Advani said he was disappointed that such a crucial bill was passed with just a voice vote. ''I feel sad. This is perversion of parliamentary democracy, the way the Telangana Bill has been passed,'' Advani said.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav described the development as ''unfortunate''.
The Left hit out at both the Congress and the BJP. ''There was match-fixing between the Congress and BJP,'' CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury claimed.
YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy slammed the passage of the Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha, and said this shows ''how democracy could be killed in broad daylight''.
Although the BJP backed the bill, the party registered some protest in a bid to win some sympathy from opponents of the bifurcation bill.
''There were about 38 amendments that were passed. We will immediately bring the Telangana Bill in the Rajya Sabha,'' union minister Kamal Nath said.
TRS supporters have begun celebrations in some parts of Hyderabad even as Andhra chief minister and his supporters, including legislators from Seemandhra region are expected to resign in protest.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in various parts of Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad in particular.
The CISF teams have been deployed near the chief minister's camp office and important locations in the city. Water cannon vehicles have been placed near the CMO as there have been protests by Anganwadi workers near his camp office.
The chief minister had made it clear that he would step down once the T-Bill is tabled in Parliament.
His next move is being keenly watched, with commentators asking whether he would float a new regional party?