History was created in Lok Sabha on Tuesday when the lower house of the Indian Parliament voted in favor of carving out Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh amid unprecedented measures including blackout of the official Lok Sabha TV channel and shutting of all the doors to the House during the ‘debate’ on the crucial and controversial bill which lasted a mere 23 minutes.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde went through the formality, albeit brief, of initiating the discussion followed by an equally brief response from the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and rounded off by Union Minister Jaipal Reddy’s summation, all in 23 minutes, even as Seemandhra ministers and MPs who stormed the well of the house staged noisy protest. The passing of various clauses of the bill, done on the basis of voice vote, however, took a little more time.
The passage of the AP Reorganization Bill, 2013, in the Lok Sabha brings to an end prolonged periods of turmoil in Andhra Pradesh marked by agitations for and against the division of the state in the past several decades. The bill will now be sent to Rajya Sabha in a day or two for ratification by the Upper House.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi was expectedly singled out for bouquets and brickbats with Telangana protagonists hailing her for the role she played in the creation of the 29th state of the Indian Union, while Seemandhra leaders likened her to Hitler while dealing with such a sensitive issue as dividing a state. “Black day in the history of Indian democracy” was the most used phrase by lawmakers who were opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh.
In Hyderabad, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who had said he would quit the moment the bill is introduced in Parliament, continued to play truant, but is now expected to put in his papers on Wednesday. He is also expected to announce his plans of launching a new party at a press conference he has scheduled before his meeting with the governor.
Expats divided — Page 6