Uncertainty ends, BJP helps UPA push it through

Capping months of tumult in and outside Parliament, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday approved amid protests the contentious Bill for the creation of Telangana after the BJP lent its support.

The Bill, approved by voice vote in less than 90 minutes, was passed even as the Lok Sabha TV, curiously, went blank for the entire duration, evoking sharp reaction from Opposition parties.

The Bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha where the BJP plans to move amendments to address “concerns” of Seemandhra. If the Bill goes through in the Upper House, Telangana will become the 29th State of the country.

The session included a commendation speech by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, a brief intervention by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who beseeched the people of Telangana not to forget the support from ‘chinna amma’ (younger mother — a reference to herself; Sonia Gandhi is described by Telangana leaders as an ‘elder mother’) and an appeal by Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, who hails from Telangana, to the people of Seemandhra not to entertain any misgivings. With the more vociferous opponents of the Bill being suspended, the task of opposing the Bill was left to some Congress members, including four Ministers, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Congress leaders formed a human shield in front of the treasury benches and the Chair through the entire drama. The amendments itself took an hour to clear; mostly by voice vote and some — moved by Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy and Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen — with a head count as they insisted on a “division.” The DMK, the Trinamool Congress and the Janata Dal (United) staged a walkout.

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