The Telangana bill, which was passed amidst a television blackout, has become the debating point of the day. While many have termed it as murder of democracy, some feel that a hue and cry is being made over nothing.
Madhu Yaskhi Goud, Congress MP from Telangana who is also the deputy whip of the party in the Lok Sabha, says that there was a gallery filled with media persons who were recording every word being spoken.
In an interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, the Congress leader says that the Bill was passed with a 2/3rds majority and there was absolutely no illegality in the entire process.
There is a big question about the manner in which the Bill was passed yesterday amidst a television blackout. Your thoughts on the issue…
I am unable to understand why such a hue and cry is being made about the live telecast. Was there television in the Lok Sabha 25 years back? Were bills not passed then?
It is not as though the Congress locked up the doors of Parliament and passed the bill. There were members of Parliament from all parties. More importantly, there were over 100 media persons in the gallery.
How can people say that the bill was passed illegally? Show me one person who was present in the media gallery saying that the bill was passed illegally. Yes everyone has written about the television blackout, but to say that the Telangana Bill was passed illegally or even term it as a murder of democracy is very unfair.
Don’t you think that the entire country should have got to see the Bill being passed?
Yes, it would have been good had they seen it. But then there was a technical glitch. There are CCTVs inside Parliament; every voice is being recorded and everything that the members are speaking is also written down. It is there for everyone to see.
Is the BJP saying that the Bill was passed illegally? No they are not. They are just raising the issue of the blackout and there will be suitable explanation given for this.
Moreover are you trying to question the Speaker? Let me tell you the Speaker deserves all the credit. You have seen for yourself the scenes last time and what difficulty she had in handling all of them.
The speaker has proven time and again that she has been impartial; not only on this issue, but on every other issue since the past 4 years.
The BJP has been crying foul over certain issues. Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has raised her voice against the television blackout. What exactly did she say in Parliament on Tuesday?
She was completely supportive of the Bill. She said in her speech that the BJP is committed to issue and the party had given its word on it long back.
She said, ‘If you do not pass the Bill, we will do it when we come to power.’
She also questioned the Congress as to why it had taken so long on the issue. She further questioned the behaviour of some Congress MPs on this issue and felt that the Congress should have acted sooner.
She also told the House that the BJP is concerned about the people of Seema-Andhra too and a good package should be given.
Trinamool leader Dinesh Trivedi has shot pictures and accused the Congress of foul play. What do you have to say about this?
I am actually surprised that Dinesh Trivedi has been calling Tuesday’s proceedings in Parliament as a murder of democracy. His party was part of the same cabinet, which had in principle agreed to form Telangana.
Remember the famous December 9, 2009 statement by P Chidambaram? The statement was given after a cabinet meeting and the TMC was very much part of the Cabinet.
This is plain double speak on his part and also his party, which protested the most in the well of the House on Tuesday. Also a question that I would want to ask Dinesh Trivedi is regarding his own undemocratic ouster as railway minister by his own party. Why did he not talk about democracy and how it was murdered then?
How long do you think the rest of the Telangana process will take?
I expect it to take a few days more. It depends on how soon Rajya Sabha passes the Bill. It will then go to the President and a notification to this effect will be issued. It would be better if the entire process is completed as soon as possible since it would give everyone a fair idea of things to come.
The Congress is looking for gains in Telangana. Does the passage of the Bill ensure your victory in Telangana
We are confident. I am sure that the people will remember the Congress for creating the state. While I salute each and everyone who was part of this cause since the last 58 years, I would also like to point out it was not an easy job to pass the Bill in Parliament. It was an extremely tough job.
What about a tie up or alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which is the biggest threat for the Congress in the region when it comes to votes?
We have been in talks with the TRS for some time now. There is no concrete decision as yet. Sometimes, the TRS comes across as an unreliable partner. We are yet to decide on whether we want an alliance or merger with the TRS.
What about the elections to the assembly? Will it be held in a united Andhra Pradesh or will there be separate elections?
We have not thought about this as yet. We will wait for the notification and only then take a call on the issue. It would be better if the elections are held separately since there will be no confusion on the matter. However, at the moment, I would say that it is too premature to speak about the elections since the bifurcation process still has some formalities left.