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The process of forming the country's 29th state moved a step closer to realisation today with the Lok Sabha passing a historic bill to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh amid din and strong protests by members from Seemandhra region, including ministers.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, which has been hanging fire for long, was adopted by voice vote along with 38 official amendments, with main opposition BJP coming on board.
The House looked like a virtual battle-ground during the 90-minute proceedings as members resorted to slogan-shouting to protest against passage of the bill. Live telecast by Lok Sabha TV was stopped, perhaps the first time.
Some Congress members formed a human wall around top leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, to prevent any protesting member to reach them.
Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Shinde said the Centre will give special financial package to Seemandhra, residual part of Andhra Pradesh, to address the grievances of the people of that region.
He said the bill seeks to meet the democratic aspirations of the people of Telangana region by reorganising the existing state into two separate states.
"I would like to reassure members of this House that we have tried our best to accommodate the concerns of all the stakeholders and mitigate the impact of the bifurcation of the state as much as possible," he added.
The bill, which has led to immense rise of tempers in Seemandhra region, was passed after brief speeches by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and minister Jaipal Reddy, a pro-Telangana leader from Andhra Pradesh.
The bill was introduced in the House on February 13 amid unprecedented scenes marked by fisticuffs, pepper spraying and breaking of House articles. 16 MPs belonging to Seemandhra region were suspended and could not attend the House today.
A number of amendments moved by AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi and Trinamool Congress member Sougata Roy were negated.
Many members protested the way the bill was passed in the din, saying it was against democratic norms and a "black day" in the country's democracy.
The bill was introduced in the House on February 13 amid unprecedented scenes marked