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OMC row: uproar over CM’s remark

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UP IN ARMS: TDP MLA P. Ranganayakulu being carried by marshals on Monday during the party’s protest in the Assembly against the ’lathicharge’ on the MLAs in Anantapur district.
UP IN ARMS: TDP MLA P. Ranganayakulu being carried by marshals on Monday during the party’s protest in the Assembly against the ’lathicharge’ on the MLAs in Anantapur district.

Special Correspondent

Telugu Desam Party members suspended in both Houses

HYDERABAD: A remark by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy against Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu during a heated debate on alleged illegal mining by Obulapuram Mining Compnay (OMC) plunged the Assembly into pandemonium, leading to suspension of Telugu Desam members on Monday.

The OMC issue dominated the day’s proceedings in both the Assembly and the Council. In the Assembly, the TDP members were suspended twice during the day, the first time 21 of them, including Mr. Naidu for the duration of the Question Hour, as they pressed for a discussion on the police lathicharge on party MLAs when they were on their way to OMC’s iron ore mine in Anantapur district to study “illegal mining”.

Eleven of them were suspended for the second time at the start of the evening session when they rushed to the Speaker’s podium demanding that the Chief Minister withdraw his remarks. CPI (M) and CPI members staged a walkout in support of the TDP.

The issue rocked the Legislative Council too, leading to suspension of seven TDP members and two independents for the Question Hour. It was a repeat of what happened in the Assembly, with TDP members rushing to the Chairman’s podium. They held aloft posters showing pictures of the mines area and shouted slogans such as “protect Council rights”. When they did not heed to Chairman A. Chakrapani’s appeal, they were suspended.

War of words

In the Assembly, the issue snowballed into a war of words between the TDP and the Congress members culminating in the spat between Dr. Reddy and Mr. Naidu. It was triggered off when Mr. Naidu wanted to respond to the Chief Minister’s comment that it was the TDP Government that issued the mining licence to OMC.

At this stage, Dr. Reddy made a remark against Mr. Naidu that derailed the debate. Assurance by Speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy to expunge unparliamentary language failed to pacify the agitated TDP members who rushed to him repeatedly seeking an opportunity for Mr. Naidu to be heard. Ch. Rajeswara Rao of TDP demanded that Dr. Reddy withdraw his remarks and tender an apology to Mr. Naidu.

The Treasury benches protested when the Speaker initially allowed Mr. Naidu to speak. However, he quickly retracted and offered to give Mr. Naidu a chance only after Dr. Reddy spoke. As the TDP members were unrelenting, the Speaker adjourned the House.

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