M A I N   N E W S

High drama as LS clears Telangana
A 90-min show & a TV ‘blackout’:
Bill adopted by voice vote after govt moves 38 amendments
KV Prasad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 18
Amid tumultuous scenes and a ‘blackout’ of TV proceedings, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday approved carving out of Telangana, which after the Rajya Sabha nod will become the 29th state of the country.

It took about 90 minutes for the House to pass the Andhra Pradesh States Reorganisation Bill amidst din by Seemandhra MPs who were opposing the state’s bifurcation.

The Bill was introduced on February 13, a day when the House hit a new low with an MP using a pepper spray inside the House.

The Bill was adopted by voice vote after the government moved 38 amendments to accommodate suggestions made by the BJP. Amendments moved by Assadudin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Saugata Roy (TMC) were negated as the House adopted the unusual route of a headcount, as protests made it difficult for restoration of order needed to record the vote on the machine.

In an equally rare occurrence, the live telecast of the proceedings could not be witnessed with Lok Sabha TV citing technical problems.

Even before Congress parliamentary managers could heave a sigh of relief over the Bill’s passage, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said though the BJP has supported the Bill, it was against the inclusion of an ‘unconstitutional’ provision giving law and order powers to the Governor.

Justifying the party’s changed stance over the Bill and allowing its passage, Sushma said the BJP wanted to put an end to the ‘Congres double game’. The Congress was trying to take the credit for bringing it (Bill) up and blaming the BJP for its non-passage, she said.

The BJP was insisting that the Bill be debated, passed when the House was in order and opposed the suspension of 16 Andhra MPs.

Congress ministers from Seemandhra, including KS Rao, Chiranjeevi, Purandeswari and K Suryaprakash Reddy, were in the well, while MM Pallam Raju and Killu Kriparani stood behind members' benches. As a measure of caution, some party MPs, including Ashok Tanwar, formed a human wall around Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde while others such as Mahabal Mishra and Sanjay Nirupam patrolled the aisles.

Ironically, political opponents CPM and TMC were on the same side as they opposed the Bill. Seemandhra MPs said the Bill could be challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds of being unconstitutional. The BJP plans to move an amendment in the Rajya Sabha, when it comes up for discussion and passage.

The passage triggered both celebrations and protests, with Telangana region MPs flashing victory signs inside the House while YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy announced a Bandh in Andhra tomorrow.

Pepper spray MP quits

Seemandhra MP L Rajagopal, who splashed pepper spray in Lok Sabha last week, has resigned from Parliament after the Bill’s passage
AP Infrastructure and Investment Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao also quit his post and the party in protest. "A decision (regarding division) was taken against people's wishes," said Rao.

Reddy set to quit today

CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy has invited his loyalist ministers and legislators for a meeting on Wednesday to formally communicate his decision to quit, said AP Social Welfare Minister Pitani Satyanarayana.

The break-up

Of 23 districts in AP, Telangana will get 9 districts. The residual state will have 13 districts.
Hyderabad, a separate district, will be the common capital for 10 years
An expert committee will suggest a new capital for the residual state in 45 days
Of 42 LS seats, 17 will go to Telangana. The remaining state will get 25 seats
Of 294 Assembly seats, Telangana will get 119 while the remaining AP will be allocated 175 seats





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