Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan did not make any mention about the contentious Telangana statehood issue in his customary address to the State Legislature on the opening day of the Budget Session on Monday.
Rather, he only listed out the numerous development and welfare programmes of the State government in his 40-page address amidst slogan-shouting by Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members for and against the bifurcation of the state.
TDP members hailing from Telangana boycotted the address protesting the terms of reference of the Sri Krishna committee appointed to go into the separate statehood issue.
A former chief of Intelligence Bureau, Mr. Narasimhan, however, mentioned the “difficult times” in the State in the last few months and stressed on the need for ensuring peace and tranquillity and offering “protection to the life and property of the people.”
“The State has been going through difficult times affecting public order, pace of development and image of the state,” Mr. Narasimhan lamented.
“I fervently appeal to all of you to help in the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the state. As Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, ‘without peace, all other dreams vanish and are reduced to ashes,’” the Governor said.
As soon as the Governor began his address, Congress members from Telangana rose to their feet holding placards with the slogan “We want separate Telangana state“.
“They also raised “Jai Telangana” slogans even as some MLAs belonging to TDP raised slogans in support of a united Andhra Pradesh.
Initially, the din lasted less than a minute as other members prevailed upon their colleagues to resume their seats even as the Governor read out his address.
But, midway through the Governor’s address, some Congress members again raised “Jai Telangana” slogans while the TDP members raised the “Jai Samaikya Andhra Pradesh” (unified AP) slogans.
About 15 Congress MLAs and MLCs from Telangana staged a walkout midway through the Governor’s address.
TDP members protested when the Governor referred to some government schemes like Jalayagnam and mid-day meal scheme and other welfare programmes. Congress members thumped the desks hailing the schemes.
MLAs of the Majlis Ittehadul-e-Muslimeen too raised slogans demanding reservation for Muslims.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu, TDP and CPI MLAs did not attend the customary breakfast hosted by the Legislative Council Chairman and the Assembly Speaker ahead of the inauguration of the Budget session.
MIM MLAs and Lok Satta Party MLA N. Jayaprakash Narayan were also conspicuous by their absence at the breakfast meeting.
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah exchanged pleasantries with Praja Rajyam Party chief K. Chiranjeevi and other MLAs present on the occasion.