Balaraju’s statement leads to a near clash between TRS and TDP members

The support for separate Telangana in the Assembly on Wednesday came from unexpected quarters as the Tribal Welfare Minister P. Balaraju who hails from Visakhapatnam backed the bifurcation Bill during a debate on it but it led to a near clash between members of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and those belonging to the Telugu Desam from Seemandhra.

The TRS members went to Mr. Balaraju’s rescue as he was shouted down by TDP members as the “betrayer of Seemandhra”. This prompted TRS MLA T. Harish Rao to dub the behaviour of TDP members as “shameful”. Mr. Rao also asked them to learn a lesson from Mr. Balaraju even as they walked up to the podium in protest against the Minister’s stand.

Mr. Rao’s remarks led to an aggressive posture subsequently by the entire TDP group which rushed towards TRS benches.

Led by K. Dayakar Reddy and S. Venkata Veeraiah, both of whom belonged to Telangana, the TDP MLAs went within an arm’s distance of their TRS counterparts as the groups exchanged angry words.

Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, who adjourned the House for a few minutes at this stage, on resumption asked the TDP to tender an apology to the Minister as he was free to express his views but there was no response. Mr. Vikramarka also asked in vain the Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu to make a point.

TRS floor leader Eatala Rajender added further fuel when he warned the TDP that it could not get away with arm twisting or its members behaving crazy. But, the issue subsided soon with Mr. Balaraju himself stating that he was not hurt and that he was willing to withdraw his words if he spoke wrong.

He said he supported separate Telangana as a loyal Congress activist though he was also concerned about the fate of Seemandhra, particularly its tribal areas to which he belonged.