Telangana bill tabled in AP Houses amid din

Telangana bill tabled in AP Houses amid din

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill was introduced amid high drama and commotion in both Houses of legislature on Monday in the absence of Chief Minister N Kirankumar Reddy.

Reddy was absent in the Assembly reportedly due to ill health. Deputy Speaker Bhatti Vikramarka and Legislature Affairs Minister Sridhar Babu, both belonging to Telangana, ensured that the bill is not only introduced but a discussion is technically initiated in the post-lunch session. Seemandhra MLAs, cutting across party lines, were taken by surprise.

The House also witnessed an adjournment when the deputy speaker, to initiate a discussion, called out for Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu who was not available at the moment.

“Technically, the discussion has begun. Therefore, there is no need for the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) to meet (to decide on scheduling a debate) and the discussion will continue and the opinion will be submitted to the President in time,” government whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy said.

The Seemandhra legislators argued that the speaker had promised a BAC meeting before taking up the bill and in the absence of it, a discussion cannot start. “The way the government is trying to bulldoze the bill, it is clear that the chief minister is hand in glove with Congress high command and is simply cheating Seemandhra people,” YSRC’s Bhumana Karunakaar Reddy, Tirupathi MLA, said.

Speaker Nadendla Manohar introduced the bill when the House reassembled soon after the adjournment. Even as legislators from Seemandhra raised slogans in front of the Speaker’s podium, Assembly Secretary Raja Sadaram read out the bill and he was guarded by Pro-Telangana MLAs. The Speaker said that the copies of the bill have also been made available in Telugu and Urdu.

Burning of a bill

Outside the House, at the media point, legislators from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions tore off the copies of the bill and set them on fire. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader D Uma Maheswara Rao, who opposed the tabling of the bill amid pandemonium, was the first to tear off the copies of the bill.

He was followed by YSRC leaders from Seemandhra, adding to tension at the media point. The police tried to prevent them but  failed. Telugu Desam MLC Nannapaneni Rajakumari was pushed to the ground when Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLC Swamy Goud tried to stop her from tearing a copy of the bill.

Meanwhile, students at Osmania University fought pitched battles with paramilitary forces when their rally to Raj Bhavan was stopped by the police at the entrance of the university. The police lobbed teargas shells and used mild force to restrain the agitating youth. “Even though the T-bill was introduced, we will not accept the rule of governor in Hyderabad,” OU-JAC leaders said.

In state secretariat, employees from Seemandhra and Telangana raised slogans and counter slogans during the lunch hour. Protests erupted in Seemandhra towns, particularly Vijayawada, Tirupathi, Kurnool, Visakhapatnam and Anantapur against the introduction of the bill and the events that took place during the post-lunch session in the absence of the chief minister, the speaker and the opposition leader – all from Seemandhra.

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