On Telangana, Chiranjeevi dissents, says he is heartbroken

Written by Express news service | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 22 2014, 15:18pm hrs
Union minister Chiranjeevi on Thursday opposed the manner in which the state was being bifurcated. The unprecedented act of a Union minister dissenting against his own government in the Rajya Sabha, in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, prompted the Opposition to raise questions.

Saying he was speaking on behalf of all the Telugu people, Chiranjeevi said he felt heartbroken and argued that the bifurcation was being carried out in an unfair manner. He said, At every step of the way, we were rushing and acting in haste. A state and its people cannot be divided causing so much hurt, pain and anger.

The minister also attacked the BJP, saying the NDA went back on its word on creation of Telangana when it was in power. The BJP members were quick to protest. Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley asked whether a member of the council of ministers was allowed to speak against the Bill which his government had proposed.

Seeking amendments, Chiranjeevi demanded Union Territory status for Hyderabad, inclusion of Anantapur and Kurnool districts in Telangana, special financial package and special category status to Seemandhra, tax exemption and tax holiday for 10 years. I strongly feel equal justice to Telugu people will not be done if the Bill is passed without these changes, he said.