Telangana Bill passage turns Lok Sabha into battle ground, Sushilkumar Shinde, Sonia Gandhi in harm's way

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 18 2014, 23:54pm hrs
TelanganaThe contentious Telangana Bill's passage in the Lok Sabha turned the lower house of Parliament into a virtual battle-ground. Express photo: Ravi Kanojia
The contentious Telangana Bill's passage in the Lok Sabha today turned the lower house of Parliament into a virtual battle-ground with Congress members seen protecting Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Sonia Gandhi apart from other top leaders from protesting members.

It also saw CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress as strange bedfellows as the two arch detractors in West Bengal politics were seen opposing the creation of Telangana, apparently with the concerns of demand for Gorkhaland in mind.

To avoid any pepper-spray type situation, Congress MPs like Aaron Rashid, Lal Singh, Bhakta Charan Das, Hamdullah Syed, Mahabal Mishra and others formed a cordon around the front rows of the treasury benches where UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Home Minister were seated when the Telangana Bill was taken up for consideration and passing.

However, Rashid and Singh, as well as a Left member were later seen distributing lozenges to the slogan-shouting MPs in the Well to help them soothe their throats.

An emotional Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar touched the feet of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, shortly before the Lok Sabha adopted the controversial bill to create a separate Telangana.

The MP from Karimnagar bowed before Sonia Gandhi as she left the House for a while.

After the Telangana Bill was passed and the House was adjourned, Prabhakar sought to take out posters depicting Sonia Gandhi but was promptly told by her not to do so.

TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao, a prime proponent of Telangana, was seen walking to Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and thanking her for BJP support to the bill.

As the House took up clause-by-clause adoption of the measure, some CPI(M) members for the first time came to the Well protesting against the creation of Telangana. However, their CPI comrades supported the bill's passage.

TMC members stormed the Well and shouted slogans like 'aaj ka din kala hai, Congress-BJP joda hai', 'aaj ka din kala hai, Rahul-Modi joda hai' and 'Sushma-Sonia jodi hai'.

When minister S Jaipal Reddy said the demand for separate Telangana goes back to 60 years and wondered whether Andhra was "sleeping like Kumbhakarna all these years", Sonia Gandhi was seen suggesting to him not to use any harsh word.

Also seeking to take credit for the Telangana Bill, Swaraj said, "After the passage of the bill, you start giving credit to Sonia Gandhi...but don't forget this 'Chinnamma' (a little mother - a reference to herself)."