The Telangana Legislative Assembly today adopted a resolution requesting the Centre to “continue status quo” and reconsider its decision to restore name of late Chief Minister N T Rama Rao to the domestic terminal at Hyderabad International Airport.
The Telugu Desam Party opposed the resolution while the Bharatiya Janata Party raised a protest for not considering certain changes it had proposed in the resolution.
The issue rocked the Assembly today after the main opposition Congress raised it through an adjournment motion as soon as the day’s proceedings began.
“Restoring N T Rama Rao’s name to the domestic terminal symbolises the continuing dominance of Seemaandhra people over Telangana.
NTR’s name should be removed and Rajiv Gandhi’s name continued for the airport,” Congress senior member T Jeevan Reddy said.
Responding to it, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said it was a “sensitive issue” and the Centre’s “unilateral action” was an insult to Telangana.
“If they (Centre) had to rename (the domestic terminal), they should have considered the name of a Telangana person. Should not the Centre recognise us ? They could have named it after late Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao who was a son of the soil,” the Chief Minister remarked.
He wanted Speaker S Madhusudanachari to call a meeting of floor leaders of all parties to decide the course of action and, accordingly, the House was adjourned for ten minutes.
When it reassembled after more than two hours, the Chief Minister proposed to move a resolution on the issue but the TDP raised an objection.
However, all other parties favoured the resolution and the Chief Minister moved it.
The resolution said, “The Telangana Legislative Assembly expresses its displeasure over the naming of domestic terminal after NTR by dividing the existing Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad.”
It said, “The Assembly objects to the manner in which the Central government took the decision without even consulting the Telangana state government.
“The Assembly resolves requesting the Central government to reconsider its decision and continue status quo,” it said.
“This is not about NTR. We have due respect for him. But, if at all the Centre wanted to change the name, it should have named it after a Telangana leader,” the Chief Minister said.
He added there were four existing airports in Andhra Pradesh and they could be named after NTR, “We have no objection even if all the four are named after NTR.”
Leader of Opposition K Jana Reddy, leaders of YSR Congress, CPM and CPI supported the resolution.
TDP floor leader Errabilli Dayakar Rao opposed it saying NTR’s name for the domestic terminal was “deliberately removed” by the then Congress government headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy after the new Hyderabad airport was built.
“There are many airports in the country that have two names. What is wrong in having two names for the Hyderabad airport as well,” Errabilli questioned and found fault with TRS government for “picking up a confrontation with the Centre” on every issue.
The Chief Minister replied that “we are only requesting, not confronting.”
MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi said the land on which the airport was built belonged to Wakf and it would be “appropriate” to name it after Hazrat Baba.
“Remove the names of NTR and Rajiv Gandhi as well,” he said, adding if at all the Centre was keen on a name change, it should first consult the state government and seek a panel of names before finalising one, Akbaruddin added.
Senior BJP legislator G Kishan Reddy said it was unfortunate that the erstwhile Congress government removed Rama Rao’s name from the domestic terminal.
He said Rajiv Gandhi’s name should also be removed as it was not right to have only “one family name for everything.”
“Of course, this should be done by consulting the state government,” he added.
Kishan Reddy too suggested that a local Telangana leader’s name be decided for naming the airport.
The BJP registered its protest after the government refused to change the content of the resolution.
After a voice vote, the Speaker announced that the resolution was adopted “unanimously”.
Though TDP and BJP MLAs objected to it, their objection did not go into the records.
The House was then adjourned till Monday.