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Seemandhra ministers disrupt Lok Sabha, PM voices sorrow

Posted on Feb 12 2014 | IANS

New Delhi/Hyderabad, Feb 12 : Central ministers opposed to Andhra Pradesh's break-up Wednesday created unprecedented chaos in the Lok Sabha, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voicing sorrow over the disruptions.

With the government gearing up to table the Telangana bill in parliament Thursday, the ministers joined MPs from their Seemandhra region to cripple the Lok Sabha.

Such was the pandemonium that Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had to cut short his railway budget speech -- after just 14 minutes.

And worse, MPs from Seemandhra and Telangana nearly came to blows in the house. Amid the ruckus, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house for the day.

Central ministers K. Sambasiva Rao, D. Purandeswari, K. Chiranjeevi and Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy trooped towards the speaker, joining the other protesting MPs including the six expelled by the Congress Tuesday.

While Seemandhra members carried placards hailing a united Andhra Pradesh, Telangana members shouted slogans demanding its early creation.

Seemandhra MPs tore copies of the Telangana bill and threw it at the railway minister. Some MPs from Telangana shielded the railway minister as well as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Telugu Desam Party's N. Sivaprasad and Telangana Rashtra Samithi's Manda Jagannatham nearly came to blows.

YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy held a placard that read: 'Save Andhra Pradesh'.

Chiranjeevi blamed the government for the disruption, saying the government ignored their suggestions over breaking up Andhra Pradesh. He said they only wanted "justice" for Seemandhra.

"It's a matter of shame," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday's disruptions.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly said the daily disruptions in parliament made his heart bleed.

"My heart bleeds to see what is happening in the house," he told a group of MPs, an informed source told the media.

"It is a sad for democracy that such things are happening after all the appeals for calm," he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed the Congress for failing to rein in its own ministers and MPs.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar asked the Congress to sack the ministers. "We want the Telangana bill. We also want justice for Seemandhra."

In an attempt to restore peace, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indulged in a bit of luncheon diplomacy as he met BJP leaders to discuss a bill for carving out Telangana.

BJP leader L.K. Advani and party president Rajnath Singh along with Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley attended the meeting.

According to informed sources, the BJP leaders said they did not have any issues with the bill but the concerns of both sides should be addressed.

They also told the government to "put its house in order" as Congress MPs were among those creating ruckus in the two houses.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed disruptions again Wednesday over Telangana.

The first adjournment came soon after the house met at 11 as members created a ruckus.

Placards demanding a united Andhra Pradesh and "Save Andhra Pradesh" were flashed at Chairman M. Hamid Ansari, who adjourned the house till noon.

When chaos continued after the house re-assembled, another adjournment was called till 2 p.m. and finally for the day.

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