February 20, 2014

Voted by Rajya Sabha, Telangana Bill goes to President for final approval

The anti-Telangana MPs disrupted the Prime Minister's speech and shredded copies of the Bill, throwing them at him. However, the Bill was passed with the support of the BJP. There are special schemes for backward Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra in the six-point development package proposed by the Prime Minister. There will also be a special category status for Seemandhra for 5 years. The Bill was earlier passed by the Lower House on Tuesday amidst uproar.
New Delhi: Amidst protests by members from Andhra region, Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, the contentious Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday evening with the support of the BJP. When Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien put the Bill to vote, the Left members staged a walkout. The UPA had yielded to the demands of the BJP for certain sops to the losing successor State of Seemandhra.

The Bill was passed after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, intervening during the discussion, announced a string of schemes as compensation for the Andhra region as it stands to lose heavily and Telangana inherits most infrastructures and the cash-rich Hyderabad Capital city.

The anti-Telangana MPs disrupted the Prime Minister's speech and shredded copies of the Bill, throwing them at him.

There are special schemes for backward Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra in the six-point development package.

There will be a special category status for Seemandhra for 5 years, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

Opposition leader Arun Jaitley said the BJP had always been in support of a separate Telangana but accused the UPA of messing up the issue. CPM's Sitaram Yechury said the division "will cost us dearly", wanted to send Bill back to the Lok Sabha. BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said Telangana is a case of demerger but the Congress messed it up. "Instead of dividing the State, you divided the people," he said. BSP leader Mayawati wanted division of UP and Maharashtra also. The Bill was moved by the Home Minister.

Earlier, the Rajya Sabha Chair had called an all-party meet to ensure smooth proceedings in the House. The Chairman had also called the marshals inside the House to tackle any untoward incidents involving the protestors.

The 60-year old demand for the State of Telangana has been fulfilled. The Bill will again be sent to the President for final seal of approval.

The Bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday due to pandemonium created mostly by Congress MPs. Overnight, a deal was struck between the UPA and the BJP to secure sufficient support for the passage in the face opposition from various quarters. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

(Also See: Text of Prime Minister's statement in Rajya Sabha announcing special package for Telangana)

(See earlier report: After Lok Sabha, Telangana Bill now faces rough weather in Rajya Sabha; CM, Ministers quit office, Congress)

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