Telangana bill cleared amid din, mysterious TV blackout of Lok Sabha

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February 19, 2014

NEW DELHI: Keen on the 17 seats in the region, a determined Congress managed to secure Lok Sabha's nod for the creation of Telangana amid din raised by a group of protesting MPs and an unprecedented TV blackout of the proceedings.

Osmania University students celebrate passing of Telangana bill in the Parliament on February 18, 2014.

February 19, 2014

NEW DELHI: Keen on the 17 seats in the region, a determined Congress managed to secure Lok Sabha's nod for the creation of Telangana amid din raised by a group of protesting MPs and an unprecedented TV blackout of the proceedings.

Osmania University students celebrate passing of Telangana bill in the Parliament on February 18, 2014.

Interestingly, the passage of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, which seems set to go through Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, was facilitated by BJP which overcame resistance from an influential section within to stick to its pro-Telangana stand.

Parliamentary approval for the legislation will clear the way for the division of Andhra Pradesh and the creation of Telangana as the 29th state of the Union.

Even as criticism of the abrupt suspension of live telecast of the 90-minute-long debate poured in from all quarters, why Lok Sabha TV, which has monopoly rights over the telecast of proceedings, went blank remained wrapped in mystery. Lok Sabha secretariat later blamed the blackout on a "technical glitch". However, the belated defence was dismissed, with leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj insisting that the disruption of live coverage was "tactical glitch".

Almost all parties slammed the blackout as "undemocratic".

Although the demand for Telangana is six decades old, the campaign has verged on fruition now only because of Congress's determination to sweep 17 Lok Sabha seats in the Telangana region. The party wavered endlessly over the issue before the fear of a rout in Andhra Pradesh after the death of former CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy impelled party strategists to tilt decisively towards conferring statehood on Telangana.

Congress has already opened talks with K Chandrasekhar Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the hope that the alliance will sweep the region, helping it salvage a chunk out of its fallen fortress of AP.

BJP's support to the bill was crucial and snuffed out the hopes of Telangana opponents — from TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy to Congress's own rebel Seemandhra contingent. Apart from its consistent advocacy for Telangana, the BJP supported the bill because it, increasingly confident of its prospects in the coming elections, did not want to inherit the "mess" created by Congress.

"We did not want this festering issue to spoil the honeymoon for a government that we may possibly form," said a senior leader when asked why the party chose to support the bill even after Congress spurned their three demands.

BJP had on Monday demanded explicit commitment in the legislation to compensate Seemandhra for the loss of revenue-rich Hyderabad, for treating the legislation as a constitutional amendment bill and for revoking the suspension of Seemandhra MPs in order to promote reconciliation between the two warring regions of AP.


Courtesy: TNN

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