Lok Sabha clears Telangana state
Though most smaller opposition parties opposed the proceedings and the Congress lacked the requisite numbers, both the Congress and the BJP came together and passed the bill by voice vote.
Amid unprecedented scenes and after a token discussion on it early in the afternoon, the Lok Sabha passed by a voice vote the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, which proposes to carve out a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
As many as 38 official amendments to the original bill, as introduced in the House last Thursday, were proposed and adopted in the process.
The bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha for its passage. The government said the Upper House will take it up immediately, possibly on Wednesday itself.
The House resembled a battle ground even before Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde rose to seek the bill’s consideration and passage. The live telecast of the House was suspended, visitors’ entry to the House public gallery severely curtailed.
Inside the House, arch-rivals Trinamool Congress and CPM stormed the Well where even ministers from Seemandhra and members of the Telugu Desam Party, Samajwadi Party and the Shiv Sena were raising slogans against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
As tempers ran high, Congress floor managers once again resorted to shielding Shinde from the protesting members in the Well. Congress members, including Kantilal Bhuria, Sajjan Singh Verma, Manicka Tagore, Aaron Rashid, Mahabal Mishra, Ashok Tanwar, Chaudhary Lal Singh, Kamal Kishore Commando and Hamadullah Sayeed created a human shield in front of the first row of the Treasury benches, which was occupied by Sonia Gandhi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not present.
Speaking from behind the human wall, Shinde announced a special package for the residual state of Andhra Pradesh to address the concerns of the people of the region, as sought during the bill’s consideration and passage.
“I would like to reassure members of this House that we have tried our best to accommodate the concerns of all the stakeholders and mitigate the impact of the bifurcation of the state as much as possible,” he said.
As the House prepared to consider the bill amid angry protests, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and DMK’s T R Baalu staged a walk out, protesting against the manner in which the bill was being pushed through. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the BJP has been supporting the Bill all along and accused the Congress of delaying it for 10 years.