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Telangana Bill PASSED in Rajya Sabha

Last updated on: February 20, 2014 22:03 IST

Telangana Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

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Telangana was all set to become 29th state of the Union with Parliament tonight approving a historic bill to carve it out of Andhra Pradesh amid vociferous protests by members from Seemandhra region as also from Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena.

The suspense over the passage of the bill came to an end with the Bharatiya Janata Party backing the government on it despite raising several concerns.

Apparently responding to demands from Seema-Andhra Members of Parliament as well as from the BJP for "justice" to the region, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a six-point development package for successor states of Andhra Pradesh, including grant of special category status to Seema-Andhra.

"I hope these additional announcements will demonstrate our steadfast commitment to not just the creation of Telangana but also to the continued prosperity and welfare of Seema-Andhra," Dr Singh noted.

A protective cordon was thrown around Dr Singh as well as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde by Congress members as members from Seema-Andhra region and those from the Trinamool Congress and the Shiv Sena stormed the Well, with TMC members tearing papers and throwing them on the floor.

Communist Party of India - Marxist members walked out of the House in protest.

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Telangana Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

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The House looked like a virtual battle-ground during the five-hour proceedings, which saw seven adjournments, as members resorted to slogan shouting and tore papers, describing the bill passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as illegal.

The debate also saw the government facing an awkward situation when Union minister Chiranjeevi, who hails from Seema-Andhra region, opposed the decision on Telangana, inviting ridicule from the BJP, which wondered whether a member of the Council of Minister can oppose a decision taken by his own government without resigning from it.

As the bill appeared set to be a reality, with most of the amendments moved by the BJP either rejected or withdrawn, the CPI-M and the Trinamool Congress alleged a nexus between the ruling party and the main Opposition.

Union minister Jairam Ramesh, who was a key person in the Telangana process as a member of the Group of Ministers on the issue, repeatedly made brief interventions to assuage the concerns of members on diverse issues.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal said the time has come to create Telangana.

"Time has come to take this historic decision...it is very difficult to satisfy all the people of both the regions," he said.

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Telangana Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

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Deputy Chairman P J Kurien rejected demands for division, taking the plea that there was no order in the House.

Unlike the Lok Sabha, where the bill was passed after a very brief discussion, Rajya Sabha saw a threadbare debate spanning around three hours despite unprecedented protests, with anti-Telangana members storming the Well with huge placards, sometimes even overshadowing the Chair.

Similarly, unlike the television blackout that was witnessed during the proceedings in Lok Sabha, there was no such "technical glitch" on the Rajya Sabha TV, which telecast the proceedings live.

Commotion and high drama continued throughout the proceedings with Congress member K V P Ramchandra Rao staging a sit-in in the Well and Trinamool members shouting "tear and throw away".

There was no suspension of any member from the House of the Elders today unlike what happened in the Lok Sabha, where as many as 16 Seema-Andhra members from various parties faced the action.

The BJP, which supported the bill, also demanded that Seema-Andhra region should get justice and a "defective" legislation should not be passed.

The principal Opposition party also deplored the government for badly handling the passage of the bill without taking all the stakeholders on board.

"Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are both brothers and are Telugu speaking. Telangana people want Telangana, we are saying yes. We are not dividing the country, we are only dividing a state for speedy development," Naidu said.

Naidu blamed the Congress for delaying the creation of Telangana and playing "vote-bank" and "opportunistic" politics on the issue.

He also sought amendments to give Special Category status to Seema-Andhra and adequate financial package to address the revenue loss of the region.

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Telangana Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

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Supporting his colleague, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said, "We are in favour of the creation of Telangana. But we want a lawful and legally sustainable bill to be passed."

"I am deeply disappointed in the way the UPA government has done the creation exercise," he said, highlighting expulsion of members in the other House, the state assembly rejecting the proposal and others.

Replying to Naidu's concerns regarding the resource gap arising between the notified date and appointed date for the creation of Telangana, both Shinde and Ramesh assured him that the government will take care of that and quoted the prime minister's statement in this regard.

In his statement, the prime minister noted that the resource gap arising in the successor state of Andhra Pradesh in the very first year will be compensated in the Regular
Union Budget for 2014-15.

This gap may arise during the period between the appointed day and the acceptance of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations by the government of India.

Concerns were also raised during the debate over the Polavaram irrigation project, which Ramesh sought to explain.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said, "There is match-fixing between the ruling party and the Opposition”.

Trinamool Congress members kept shouting "Congress-BJP bhai, bhai".

The Trinamool Congress is concerned about the fall-out of the Telangana decision on the Gorakhaland issue.

The hilly region of West Bengal has been seeking separate statehood for a long time.

Similarly in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has been staunchly opposed to any division of the state, where demands for the creation of Vidarbha are raised occasionally.

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Image: Chiranjeevi


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