Cabinet clears Telangana bill, parliament in uproar (Roundup)

New Delhi/Hyderabad, Feb 7: Brushing aside opposition from some Congress ministers from Andhra Pradesh, the union cabinet Friday gave its nod to a bill to form a Telangana state even as parliament was plunged into chaos for a third straight day.

The approval for the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill came at a two-hour cabinet meeting held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence.

The bill seeks to create Telangana as India’s 29th state, comprising 10 districts with Hyderabad as its capital. The cabinet cleared the bill despite opposition by central ministers from Seemandhra region who want Andhra Pradesh to remain a united state.

The cabinet also reportedly turned down a proposal to make Hyderabad a union territory or form a Rayala-Telangana by adding two districts of the Rayalaseema region to Telangana.

The cabinet, however, reportedly recommended a financial package to Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra. It also agreed to provide financial assistance to develop the capital of the depleted Andhra Pradesh.

The cabinet meet was followed by a meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) which discussed Telangana.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, refused to intervene in the plans to carve out the new state, dismissing a number of petitions seeking a stay on bringing the Telangana bill in parliament.

The apex court said it was not an appropriate stage to intervene in the matter.

Both houses of the Andhra Pradesh assembly Jan 30 passed resolutions by voice vote rejecting the bill sent by President Pranab Mukherjee for its opinion under article 3 of the constitution.

But the central government decided to go ahead with the Telangana formation. The bill will be sent to the president with a recommendation to forward it to parliament.

Sources said it may be tabled in the Rajya Sabha Feb 12.

Parliament was again disrupted Friday over Telangana. Both the houses were repeatedly adjourned.

Three no-confidence motions were admitted in the Lok Sabha, including one from a Congress member from Andhra Pradesh opposing Telangana.

In the Lok Sabha, the question hour was lost to protests as members from Seemandhra (as coastal Andhra and Rayalseema are collectively known).

With similar scenes prevailing when the house re-assembled at noon, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house for the day.

Three MPs from Andhra Pradesh served no-confidence notices in the Lok Sabha against the Manmohan Singh government.

The three are Harsha Kumar of the Congress, M. Venugopal Reddy of the Telugu Desam Party and M. Rajamohan Reddy of the YSR Congress. All of them are opposed to the creation of Telangana.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha where TDP members C.M. Ramesh and Y.S. Choudhary trooped to the chairman’s podium raising slogans and flashing placards to “Save Andhra Pradesh”.

Chairman M. Hamid Ansari said disruptions in the house would now on be reflected in the record of proceedings.

Amid the protests, the house was adjourned first till 12 noon, then until 2.30 p.m. before being adjourned for the day.

IANS