Telangana bill on agenda today, unprecedented security in Parliament
New Delhi – Unprecedented precautions are being taken in Parliament as the government decides on whether to introduce the controversial Telangana bill in the Lok Sabha today.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting top ministers to discuss the tabling of the bill to create the new state by dividing Andhra Pradesh, which has led to angry protests in Parliament. The bill has not been listed and the Centre will reportedly first assess the situation.
“We are still discussing whether to bring the bill today or on Monday,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.
No visitors will be allowed in Parliament House today and fire extinguishers and blankets are being kept on the ready after after a Congress MP allegedly threatened to set himself afire.
The MP, Sabbam Hari, is one of the six that the ruling party expelled for moving a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister, to signal that it will not tolerate dissent and that it is determined to push through its Telangana plan, designed as vote-bait for the coming national election.
The six MPs belong to the non-Telangana regions of Seemandhra, which are vehemently opposed to bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.
There have been ugly and embarrassing clashes in Parliament. “My heart bleeds to see what is happening in the House. This is bad for democracy,” said the Prime Minister yesterday, after two MPs nearly attacked each other before other lawmakers intervened.
One view is that the interim budget should be passed first on Monday, before the Telangana bill is brought.
At a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister on Wednesday, senior BJP leaders made it clear that the bill to create Telangana “cannot be passed in the din,” without a proper discussion. The PM and other ministers reportedly agreed to ask the Speaker to find a way out.
This session, which ends on February 21, is the last before the election, due by May. Since it began about a week ago, Parliament has been paralyzed with angry disruptions over Telangana. Papers have been torn and flung inside the Rajya Sabha and the chairman’s mic pulled out.