Telangana Bill passed in Lok Sabha
After days of protest and uproar in the Parliament, the controversial Telangana Bill was finally passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday which will bifurcate Andhra Pradesh for the creation of a separate Telangana statehood.
The Lower House of the Parliament passed the Telangana Bill by voice vote amid uproar.
Meanwhile, in an unprecedented move, live telecast of Parliament proceedings was stopped as the Lok Sabha passed the Bill.
Speaker Meira Kumar told NDTV that the telecast was stopped due to a problem.
"There was a problem, so we couldn't show the live telecast," she said.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, "It keeps on happening."
Speaking on the passage of the Bill, Shinde said, "We had promised a seperate Telangana and we had to pass the bill. During my speech on Telangana, I said that we will give special package to the Seemandhra region. Whatever lapses are there, will be sorted out soon."
With the passage of the Bill, Hyderabad will be joint capital of both the states - Telangana and Seemandhra.
The amendment to make Hyderabad, a capital of Telangana, was, however, defeated by voice vote in the Lok Sabha.
The Bill that was passed in the Lok Sabha was the one sent to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly earlier.
As Telangana erupted in joy, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is likely to resign from his chair as a mark of protest.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said, "Had the Congress not passed the Telangana Bill, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would have passed it within 100 days of coming into power."
Congress MP Hanumantha Rao gave the credit to party president Sonia Gandhi for the passage of Telangana Bill.
"Last sixty years what was our feelings, it was materialiazed today. We are very happy, the credit goes to Sonia Gandhi," Rao told media.
Union Minister Pallam Raju, who was amongst the Congress MPs who opposed Telangana, said, "This is very sad day for democracy, such an important matter passed without any discussion. It is unfortunate. This is very very unfortunate unprecedented."
YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy called it a "black day in the history of the country". He also called for a bandh in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday as a mark of protest.
He said the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha "undemocratically".
"The way the proceedings took place, it demonstrated how democracy can be killed," Reddy said.
"I am more sad than angry. Today democracy has come to a standstill. Point is people of this country - 1.2 billion people - have a right to listen to the discussion. Spirit of democracy has been killed. Speaker is the custodian of democracy," Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi said.
"I have never witnessed such a scene. It's beyond my 'bardash' (tolerance). I couldn't sit and decided to walk out. We decided that we cannot be part of such a division," said Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Congress had earlier assured to introduce the Telangana bill in Parliament with the Prime Minister himself hoping that the Telangana Bill will be passed in its last session before the next general elections.
The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Jan 30 rejected the Telangana Bill before being adjourned sine die.
The new state of Telangana will have to have 10 districts, a population of 35.38 million and an area of 1.14 lakh square km and including Andhra Pradesh capital Hyderabad, which will serve as a common capital for 10 years.
The GoM (Group of Ministers) earlier had submitted its draft on bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana as the 29th state of India.
India's ruling Congress party in July 2013 approved a move to carve out the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, giving in to a five-decade-long demand from supporters in a major decision ahead of 2014 elections.
Officially urging the government to take constitutional steps that will see the state's formation, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) passed a resolution on the same.
The Telangana region, which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956 against the wishes of many local residents, comprises 10 districts - Adilabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.
(Posted on 18-02-2014)