Telangana statehood issue derails presentation of Rail Budget 2014

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Tempers running high in Parliament on the issue of Telangana statehood. Tempers running high in Parliament on the issue of Telangana statehood.
SummaryMallikarjun Kharge being forced to cut short his Rail Budget speech in Lok Sabha because of turmoil.

The storm over Telangana today derailed the presentation of the Interim Rail Budget 2014-15 with Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge being forced to cut short his speech in Lok Sabha because of turmoil.

With tempers running high on the issue of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, a clash was averted between a supporter and opponent of Telangana due alertness of some leaders.

The Well of the House looked a battle ground on Telangana issue with members from Andhra Pradesh cutting across party lines converging there.

In an unprecedented action, four Union Ministers from Seemandhra trooped into the Well demanding a united Andhra Pradesh.

Ministers K S Rao, D Purandeshwari, Chiranjeevi and K Surya Prakash Reddy were in the Well while Minister M Pallam Raju and Kruparani Killi were seen supporting them by standing in their seats.

Alertness of JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress and Jagadambika Pal of Congress helped avert an ugly situation as M Jagannath (Cong) and N Sivaprasad (TDP) moved aggressively towards each other.

Jagannath, a supporter of Telangana, was angry over Sivaprasad's action of tearing some papers, apparently concerning the bill on separate state.

They were, however, not allowed to come closer by alert members.

YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy also joined the protesting Seemandhra MPs in the Well.

This could be perhaps the first occasion when the Railway Minister was forced to lay on the table his budget speech which was taken as read.

The House witnessed further trouble after AIADMK and Trinamool Congress members stormed the Well alleging discrimination against their states - Tamil Nadu and West Bengal - respectively.

Turmoil in Parliament over Telangana and other issues has taken a toll on the proceedings ever since the extended Winter Session began on February 5.

Andhra Pradesh has been sharply divided on regional lines on the Telangana issue and the storm has refused to die down in Parliament despite Congress expelling six MPs from Seemandhra yesterday, signally its commitment for formation of Telangana.

After witnessing the turmoil in Lok Sabha, during presentation of the Rail Budget, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told members that his "heart bleeds" to see what is happening in the House.

"It is sad for democracy that such things are happening after all appeals for calm," he said. PTI RAM ACB SPG SMI 02121341

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