Disruptions during Rail Budget ‘unfortunate’: Kamal Nath

New Delhi, Feb.12: Commenting on the protest by the lawmakers over the Telangana issue, during the presentation of the Interim Railway Budget in Parliament, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said such a situation is very ‘unfortunate’ and dampens the spirit of democracy.

“Such incidents dampen the spirit of the democracy. It is a different thing when you protest and when you create disorder. We should be careful about such behavior in the House,” Nath told media here today.

“Democracy is our pride and we should respect it. The House belongs to every member, not to any particular person. The House is not to be controlled by the government but it is controlled by the members,” he added.

Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N. Singh also called such incidents as unfortunate, and added that this is not good for democracy.

“In the 15th Lok Sabha, this scene has become a very common thing. This is not good for democracy,” said Singh.

“I think it is an unfortunate situation. People all over the country want to know about Rail budget. The members have always listened patiently to the Railway Budget in the past and have actively participated in the discussion that follows,” he added.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla acknowledged that people are agitated over the Telangana issue but it can be solved through discussions.

“The Railway Budget has been presented in Parliament. It is a good budget, and I am quite sure that the house will pass it,” said Shukla.

“Yes, there is a situation in Andhra and the people are provoked and agitated. But it can be solved through discussions,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who tabled the Rail Budget in Parliament, was interrupted during his speech by continuous shouting and disruptive behavior of the MPs’ from Andhra Pradesh protesting against the decision to carve out Telangana from the state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed his dismay over the protests taking place inside Parliament over the Telangana issue, and said democracy in India was being harmed as a result.

“My heart bleeds to see what is happening in the House. This is bad for democracy,” television channels quoted Dr. Singh, as saying shortly after Members of Parliament from the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) nearly came to blows inside the Lok Sabha and had to be held back by other lawmakers.

The proposal to divide Andhra Pradesh and carve out a new state of Telangana led to protests a repeated adjournment of both houses of Parliament on Wednesday.

In the Lok Sabha, four Union Ministers – K.S. Rao, D. Purandeshwari, Chiranjeevi and K. Surya Prakash Reddy – left their seats and rushed towards the Speaker’s chair to protest.

They belong to the Seemandhra region, which is strongly opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh.

Since this session began on February 5, Parliament has been repeatedly disrupted.

On Tuesday, the Congress high command sent out a message that it would not tolerate dissent within its ranks by expelling six of its Lok Sabha members who had moved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Singh over the Telangana proposal.

The session ends on February 21. (ANI with inputs)