Telangana Bill gets Parliament nod

Telangana Bill gets Parliament nod

Telangana is all set to become the 29th state of the Indian Union with the Rajya Sabha, on Thursday,  also giving its approval to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill by a voice vote.

The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on Tuesday. On Thursday night the Upper House gave its nod to the bill amid vociferous protests by members from the Seemandhra region, along with MPs from the  Congress, Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal-U, who were in the Well of the House shouting slogans.

The suspense over the bill on Wednesday came to an end when the BJP came around to support the government after raising several concerns.

Responding to demands from Seemandhra MPs as well as from the BJP for “justice” to the region, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a six-point development package for the successor states of Andhra Pradesh, including grant of special category status and tax incentives to Seemandhra.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s request to the prime minister to give a special category status to Seemandhra for five years seemed to have clinched the issue and the main opposition party came on board. “I hope these additional announcements will demonstrate our steadfast commitment to not just for the creation of Telangana but also to the continued prosperity and welfare of Seemandhra,” Singh, who is also Leader of the House , said.

A protective cordon was thrown around Singh as well as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who tabled the bill, by Congress members.

The House looked like a battleground during the five-hour proceedings, which saw seven adjournments as members resorted to slogan shouting and tore papers describing the bill passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as illegal. BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu opened the debate and held the government responsible for creating a mess on the issue.

The debate also saw the government facing an awkward situation when Minister of State for Tourism Chiranjeevi, who hails from the Seemandhra region, opposed the Telangana bill, inviting ridicule from the BJP. BJP leaders wondered whether a member of the council of ministers can oppose a decision taken by his own government without resigning from it.

Now, the bill will be forwarded to the President for approval.

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