Chaos in Andhra assembly over Telangana, governor heckled (Roundup)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

HYDERABAD - The movement for separate Telangana took an untoward turn in the Andhra Pradesh legislature Thursday with lawmakers supporting the demand heckling Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and manhandling two legislators opposed to the demand in the assembly complex.

On a day when over 300,000 government employees in Telangana region launched non-cooperation movement to press for a bill in parliament for a separate state, the legislature witnessed unprecedented chaos when the governor was addressing a joint sitting of the two houses on the first day of the budget session.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) members tried to snatch papers from the governor’s hands and uproot mikes, forcing him to cut short his customary address to the state legislature.

The TRS legislators and their supporters did not spare Lok Satta Party president Jaipraksh Narayan and ruling Congress party legislator P. Venkat Rao. They were manhandled within the assembly complex.

The unprecedented incidents “shocked” Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who termed it as a “black day” and apologised to the governor and also to the people of the state.

However, uncertainty looms over the budget session as the TRS, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have decided not to allow smooth conduct of the assembly proceedings unless the house passes a resolution demanding that the central government table a bill in parliament.

Police began investigations into the attack on Jaiprakash Narayan and Venkat Rao after legislature officials lodged a complaint. Jaiprakash, a former bureaucrat, said he had personally not lodged any complaint.

Telangana legislators raised slogans of “Governor go back” as soon as he began the address. Some legislators, mainly from the TRS, tore copies of his speech and threw the pieces at him.

TRS, TDP and other pro-Telangana legislators alleged that the governor was anti-Telangana and hence had no right to address the legislature in the land of Telangana.

Marshals, who were called in by Deputy Speaker Nandendla Manohar, bodily lifted out TRS, TDP and BJP legislators who had trooped into the well of the house. The chairs of the governor, the deputy speaker and the council chairman were turned upside down in the scuffle between legislators and marshals.

The governor, who was visibly upset over the protest, hurriedly read out his speech completing it in less than 15 minutes and skipping many pages of his 40-page address as his security personnel and marshals of the assembly stood like a wall around him.

The TRS and TDP alleged that some legislators were injured as marshals used force to evict them.

The majority of ruling Congress party legislators from Telangana were not present in the house as they have been camping in Delhi for the last few days demanding that the party’s central leadership table a Telangana bill in parliament.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Thursday apologised to the governor for the chaos in the legislature.

Terming it as a black day in the history of the state legislature, he told reporters that the incidents both inside the house and in the premises were shameful.

“It is a black day… We are feeling ashamed … and are apologising to the governor on behalf of all,” he said.

A grim-looking Kiran Kumar briefly addressed the media before reaching Raj Bhavan to meet Narasimhan.

Filed under: Politics

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