Agencies, New Delhi
The controversial Telangana Bill today had a stormy introduction in the Lok Sabha, during which MPs opposing and supporting the formation of a new state out of Andhra Pradesh, created unprecedented ruckus- using irritation causing spray, coming to blows and damaging house property-leading finally to the suspension of 16 members involved in the incidents and adjournment of proceedings till Monday.
The incidents were condemned as ‘’disgraceful’’ and ‘’shameful,’’ both by the Government and the Opposition. MPs from both Telangana and Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh belonging to the TDP, ruling Congress and TRS, were already arraigned in the Well when Speaker Meira Kumar entered the House at its reassembly at 1200 hrs after an earlier adjournment over the issue.
Suspended Congress MP L Rajagopal used some spray to cause eye and throat irritation and Venugopal Reddy of the TDP broke the mike at the Secretary General’s table and snatched papers from the Speaker’s podium as she asked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to table the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2014.
Soon, supporters and opponents of the Bills came to blows in the Well and several MPs like Raj Babbar and Azharuddin of the Congress and Saugata Rai of the Trinamool Congress were seen trying to control the situation.
There were allegations that Mr Reddy brandished a knife, but the MP denied that he was holding only a part of the broken mike.
Mr Rajagopal was finally overpowered by the ward and watch staff of Parliament and evicted out of the House. The contents of the spray he used, were being analysed.
The use of spray left many Members coughing and with irritation in eyes. The rampage in the House left some MPs injured and they had to be taken to hospital. The unprecedented disorder forced the Speaker to announce adjournment of the House till 1400 hrs. The completion of the process of introduction of the Telangana Bill could not be ascertained in the prevailing pandemonium, and the Lok Sabha Secretariat was also not immediately able to confirm as to whether the Bill had been tabled.
However, outside the House, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Bill had been taken by Speaker as introduced, and later the confirmation came from the Lok Sabha table office too.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who described the whole incident as shameful and part of a conspiracy by the Congress, contested the government’s claim that the introduction of the Bill had taken place, saying the disorder in the House did not allow the process of tabling to be duly completed. She said the tabling of the Bill in such a chaos was not acceptable to her party.
However, Mr Kamal Nath and Mr Shinde said the Bill had now become a property of the House.
Veteran BJP leader Lk Advani described today’s incidents as a disgrace to Parliament and unprecedented. Speaker Meira Kumar also condemned the incident saying, ‘’They have shamed India, they have shamed us.’’
The House was back to chaos when it reassembled at 1400 hrs. TDP MP from Machalipatnam K Narayana Rao fainted after complaining of chest pain. He was physically carried out by the watch and ward staff and taken to RML Hospital. In the prevailing din, Ms Kumar announced suspension of 17 MPs, and later adjournment of the House till 1500 hrs.
Her attempt to take up the no-confidence motion given by some MPs from Andhra Pradesh, including those from the ruling Congress, Telangana could not succeed as there was no order in the House for her to ascertain if the motion had the support of 50 members as required under the procedure for moving such motion.