15 YSRC members suspended as furore over T-bill continues

An intense drama unfolded in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday during a debate on the bill for the creation of separate Telangana state, leading to the suspension of 15 MLAs of the YSR Congress for the day.

The din prevailed in the House as YSRC members stormed the Speaker’s podium and disrupted proceedings of the House, demanding that a resolution be passed in favour of keeping the state united. The YSRC has been the most aggressive of the parties opposing the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013, referred to it by the President Pranab Mukherjee.

Pandemonium prevailed in the House as soon as it met for the day when the YSRC members protested against the bill. The House was adjourned twice and the Speaker held talks with the YSRC MLAs to end the logjam. But the protesters continued to stall the proceedings, following which Speaker Nadendla Manohar asked Legislative Affairs Minister S Sailajanath to move a motion for suspending the unruly members. The motion was then passed through a voice vote and marshals were called in to evict the slogan-shouting members.

Later, the suspended members staged a dharna near the main gate of the Assembly building. Amid high drama, the police took them into preventive custody and whisked them away to the police station.

Earlier, party floor leader and Jagan’s mother Y S Vijayalakshmi argued that a discussion on the draft bill would be tantamount to accepting the division of the state. Asserting that her party was strongly opposed to bifurcation, she insisted on taking up voting on the bifurcation issue before debating the bill. “We have been repeatedly seeking a resolution by the House against the bifurcation. We even petitioned the President on this,” she said.

Finance Minister A Ramanarayana Reddy sought the cooperation of the members in the smooth conduct of the debate so that their views could be communicated to the Centre. Ruling out a demand by the YSRC, he wondered how voting could be taken up on a bill before the discussion. He  advised the YSRC to take part in debate.

Meanwhile, in another crucial development, the Telangana MLAs have started submitting suggestions and amendments to the draft bill which they believe contained provisions imposing restrictions on the status of Hyderabad post-bifurcation.

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