Members of Parliament from the Telugu Desam Party and YSR-Congress Party on Tuesday continued their protests on the absence of a special package for Andhra Pradesh in the Union budget, leading to some disruption in proceedings.
Even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s assurance that an alternative mechanism would be worked out to provide financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh failed to pacify them.
Vociferous protests by members of NDA ally Telugu Desam forced brief adjournment of Lok Sabha proceedings in the first half. In the second half too, the House was adjourned twice during the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President.
Ironically, the protests grew louder when Congress leader in the House Mallikarjuna Kharge spoke, making party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and others lodge a protest before the Speaker that Mr. Kharge was not being allowed to speak. The Speaker tried to convince them to allow the Congress leader to speak. During the brief adjournment, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also tried to reason out with TDP leaders that they should protest before the Government when the Prime Minister was present in the House.
Members of the YSR Congress, who were in the Well displaying placards along with TDP MPs, staged a walkout during the debate on the Motion of Thanks to President for his address, despite the assurance given by Mr. Jaitley.
“I think a solution by which an amount can be given through an alternative mechanism is being worked out. I have asked the expenditure secretary today to immediately call the finance secretary of Andhra Pradesh to Delhi and work out procedural formalities, so that it can be done,” Mr. Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha after TDP members trooped into the Well raising slogans.
“That amount will be the same. Let’s be assured that there should not be any difficulty,” he said.
In his speech, TDP Lok Sabha member Narasimham Thota described Mr. Jaitley’s budget “an insult to the people of Andhra Pradesh” and demanded that all promises made by the NDA government at the time of bifurcation of the state should be fulfilled without delay.
The demands of the TDP include special category status for Andhra Pradesh, financial support for setting up a new capital and setting up of a new railway zone at Visakhapatnam.
YSR-CP member P.V. Midhun Reddy said his party would continue the protest till special category status was granted to Andhra Pradesh.