Telangana battle turns ugly, MPs attacked with pepper spray in Parliament

Last Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 06:14

New Delhi: In a new low in India`s parliamentary history, pepper spray was used in the Lok Sabha resulting in hospitalisation of three MPs following a ruckus over introduction of the Telangana bill after which 16 Andhra Pradesh MPs were suspended.
Also Read: Telangana ruckus in Parliament: As it happened

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar expressed anguish over the incidents saying it has "shamed the country and Parliament and called it a "blot".

A controversy broke out over the status of the bill to divide Andhra Pradesh with BJP and six other opposition parties disputing the government`s claim that it was introduced.

Unprecedented pandemonium broke out in the House when expelled Congress member L Rajagopal, an industrialist and opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh, brought a canister from which he sprayed pepper.

Three MPs--Vinay Kumar Pande, Ponnam Prabhakar and Balram Nai--suffered from suffocation, irritation in their eyes and heavy coughing following which they were taken to nearby Government Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for treatment. They were later discharged.

Many other MPs were seen coming out of the House with watery eyes and were feeling suffocated. Ambulances were pressed into service.

Another anti-Telangana member Venugopal Reddy (TDP) broke the mike of the House Secretary General and a computer screen was broken in the "well" as members from either side of the divide came to blows when Shinde stood up to introduce the bill for reorganisation of Andhra Pradesh.

During the proceedings in the afternoon, a TDP member K Narayan Rao with heart condition collapsed in the House and was rushed to RML hospital.

Rajya Sabha also witnessed Uproarious scenes with members staging protests in the Well over Telangana statehood issue and a TDP member trying to snatch the mike of the Chair.

In the ruckus over the issue, TDP MP CM Ramesh tried to uproot the mike from the podium, the Chair adjourned the House till afternoon and finally for the day till Monday.
The Seemandhra MPs, protesting against creation of Telangana, sought to stall introduction of the bill for which Home Minister Sushil Kumar later claimed has been tabled but was disputed by BJP and other opposition parties.

The unprecedented action of the protesting MPs triggered all round denunciation with the Speaker saying "It has shamed us, shamed us. India`s parliamentary democracy is respected throughout the world. Today what has happened is a blot."

NDA Chairman and BJP veteran said what happened in the House was disgraceful not only for the government but Parliament and blamed the ruling dispensation for it.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath condemned the behaviour of the MPs and said Speaker would take action.

There was also a blame game with Nath accusing BJP of changing its stand and opposing the bill while also declaring its support. "BJP has been totally exposed," he said.

But Advani and Leaders of Opposition in both the Houses Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley accused the government of not doing proper home work and indulging in this "drama".

The Well of the Lok Sabha turned into a battle ground as fisticuffs broke out between members from Seemandhra and others, including Raj Babbar, Azharuddin, Lal Singh (all Cong) and Saugata Roy (TMC), who wanted to prevent disruptions in the House.

After damaging the mike, Reddy (TDP) snatched papers from the Speaker`s podium, while Rajagopal broke the glass on the table and used the pepper spray.

In the afternoon, Meira Kumar cracked the whip and suspended 16 MPs, who are against division of Andhra Pradesh, for rest of the session following the scenes of pandemonium.

Kumar named 18 members who were asked to withdraw from the House. Later, Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a circular in which the names of Suresh Kumar Shetkar (pro-Telangana) and K Bappi Raju (Seemandhra) were deleted.

The suspended members cannot enter the House, inner lobby and galleries. They cannot participate in the meetings of Parliamentary Committees and cannot vote in committees during the suspension till February 20, the penultimate day of the 15h Lok Sabha.

PTI

First Published: Friday, February 14, 2014 - 00:07

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