Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly witnessed uproarious scenes and heated exchanges on Monday between members cutting across the Telangana and Seemandhra divide, even as the bill that provides for creation of Telangana state was finally tabled in the House.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who had been opposing the bifurcation of the state, however, did not attend the House citing ill-health.
Also read: Highlights of Telangana Bill
There was high drama in and outside the House as the legislators, split vertically, sought to push forward their respective agendas on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill-2013.
MLAs on either side of the regional divide got into heated exchanges, jostled each other and virtually came to blows inside the House favouring and opposing the draft Bill.
Irate Seemaandhra MLAs belonging to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) tore copies of the Bill that were circulated to them, while those of YSR Congress burnt the copies near the media point outside the House.
Some mediapersons belonging to a television channel and a newspaper from Telangana virtually manhandled the YSRC legislators, decrying the burning of the Bill copies. In response, the MLAs lodged a complaint with Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar and sought action against them.
The day’s proceedings began on a chaotic note with Telangana MLAs demanding immediate tabling of the draft Bill in the House and those from Seemaandhra strongly opposing it.
The TDP members from Seemandhra wanted the Bill to be returned to the Centre since it was drafted without a resolution (on the bifurcation of the state) by the Assembly.
After an hour-long adjournment, the Speaker instructed Legislature Secretary S Raja Sadaram to lay copies of the draft Bill on the table of the House and read out the reference of President of India sent to the state on December 12 While legislators from Telangana cheered the tabling of the Bill, those from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions tore the copies in protest and anger.
The Speaker then announced that the draft Bill was tabled in the House as per Chapter 16 of the Assembly Rules.
After a liberal translation, copies of the draft Bill in Telugu and Urdu have been made available to the members, the Speaker said. Copies of the Bill were also being made available on the Legislature’s web site – http://www.aplegislature.org. Manohar then adjourned the House for half an hour.
Unruly scenes continued when the House reassembled after over three hours with Seemandhra MLAs standing on top of the officials’ tables holding placards and hurling torn papers at Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, who was in the chair.
Amid the pandemonium, the Deputy Speaker asked Legislative Affairs Minister D Sridhar Babu to suggest how to take up the discussion on the draft Bill that should be returned to the President by January 23, incorporating the views of the House.
There was no order as the minister tried to speak, forcing the Deputy Speaker to adjourn the House till Tuesday.
Outside the House, TDP MLAs from Seemandhra laid a siege in the Speaker’s chamber preventing him from entering the House. Ministers and MLAs of all parties from either side of the divide met the Speaker in his chamber to discuss the Bill.
While Telangana leaders sought a Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting to fix schedule for discussion of the Bill, the others opposed it.
The BAC meeting is expected to be held tomorrow to decide on further course of action, Legislature sources said.