Congress MPs add to Telangana chorus, disrupt Lok Sabha (Second Lead)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEW DELHI - Noisy scenes and repeated disruptions returned to the Lok Sabha Wednesday as some MPs, including from the ruling Congress, shouted slogans and flashed placards demanding that the government table a bill for a separate Telangana state to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh.

While the Lok Sabha witnessed frequent disruptions, there was peace in the Rajya Sabha and it functioned normally according to schedule.

The chaos in the lower house started after Congress MPs from the Telangana region rose to shout the slogans for separate statehood. They were soon joined by members of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

A day after peaceful proceedings, the house witnessed three adjournments till 2 p.m. TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his colleague M. Vijaya Shanthi and the TDP’s Ramesh Rathod repeatedly walked towards the presiding officer’s podium to shout slogans and press for an adjournment motion.

Congress MPs Poonam Prabhakar, M. Jagannath, G. Vivekanand, Madhu Goud Yaskhi and Sarvey Satyanarayana were heard shouting “Jai Telangana” from their seats.

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is not an elected member of the Lok Sabha, was attending the sitting in the house, Speaker Meira Kumar tried to convince the protesting members that the issue could be raised during zero hour.

When MPs persisted with their noisy protests, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house barely 10 minutes after the MPs assembled for the day’s sitting at 11 a.m. for the crucial question hour.

Members returned to the house at 11.30 a.m., and so did the noisy scenes.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj intervened and demanded that the government bring a bill during the budget session to solve the protracted issue that has incited violence in Telangana.

She said the issue was too important to be ignored as life in the Andhra Pradesh region has been paralysed for the second day over the demand for a bill for the formation of a separate Telangana state.

“Why are the ruling MPs shouting slogans? This is because everything in Telangana is stuck, employees are on a pen-down strike… Nothing is working there and if anything functions that is rubber bullets,” she said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the matter could be “resolved right away if the prime minister promises that the Telangana bill will be brought to parliament in the ongoing budget session”.

“We will get the bill passed with our members supporting it,” she thundered, as protests grew louder forcing another disruption till noon.

The chaos returned when the house reassembled at 12, and the speaker adjourned the house again till 2 p.m. after Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy failed in his attempts to calm tempers.

But there were no protests after 2 p.m. as the house continued with its debate on the motion of thanks on President Pratibha Patil’s address to a joint session on Monday.

The TRS chief later told reporters outside parliament that his party would “continue to disrupt the house” till the government promises a timeframe to form Telangana state.

He said the over 500-page report of the Srikrishna Committee on the issue was “nothing but a bundle of lies”.

The Telangana panel submitted the report Dec 30 last year to the home ministry but a final decision of the government on the statehood demand is yet awaited.

will not be displayed