Congress MPs raise Telangana issue in Lok Sabha

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NEW DELHI - A group of Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh Tuesday raised in the Lok Sabha the demand for separate statehood for the Telangana region, causing embarrassment to the party leadership.

The MPs, including Ponnam Prabhakar, M. Jagannath and G. Vivekanand, got up from their seats in the treasury benches soon after the Question Hour was over and sought to raise the Telangana issue.

They stood for over 20 minutes, trying to draw the attention of Speaker Meira Kumar and did not relent despite Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy urging them to resume their seats.

Narayanasamy was also seen having a word with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi inside the house.

Even as Zero Hour was in progress, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj backed their Telangana demand, saying it was “justified”.

“If the government brings a bill for creation of the new state, the BJP is ready to help it pass in parliament,” she said. But the government remained silent on the issue.

The Congress MPs returned to their seats only after Meira Kumar assured them that they would be allowed to raise the issue in the Lok Sabha provided they served notice of this.

On Monday, a few Congress MPs from Telangana region had raised pro-statehood slogans during the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha soon after President Pratibha Patil’s address. They also displayed placards in support of their demand and shouted “Jai Telangana” and “We want Telangana”.

The issue rocked the Andhra Pradesh assembly for the third day Tuesday with legislators from the region wanting a resolution in favour of separate statehood for Telangana passed by the legislature.

A 48-hour bandh in the Telangana region of the state also began Tuesday with normal life paralysed in capital Hyderabad and nine other districts of the region.

A government-appointed committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna had on Dec 30 last submitted its 505-page report to the home ministry, but a final call of the central government on the statehood demand and the six recommendations of the panel is still awaited.

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