Congress protests 'anti-Sonia' remarks as Telangana session ends

The first budget session of the Telangana Legislative Assembly ended on an acrimonious note on Saturday following an uproar over certain remarks 'against' Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Hyderabad: The first budget session of the Telangana Legislative Assembly ended on an acrimonious note on Saturday following an uproar over certain remarks 'against' Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

What began as a war of words between the ruling TRS and main opposition Congress ended up as a slanging match between the Congress and BJP and no listed business could be taken up in the House.

Deputy Chief Minister T Rajaiah was the first to make the "objectionable" remarks against Sonia Gandhi and later senior BJP MLA G Kishan Reddy too joined the issue.

As the din continued even after two adjournments of ten minutes each, the government moved a resolution seeking categorisation of Scheduled Castes into sub-groups in the state. It requested the Centre to amend the Constitution to give effect to the SC categorisation.

The resolution was adopted even as Congress MLAs stormed the Speaker's podium demanding apology from G Kishan Reddy.

As the protesting Congress members remained unrelenting, Speaker S Madhusudanachari adjourned the house sine die.

The trouble stated during the zero hour in the morning when TRS's Rasamai Balakishan said that today was a special day, as on this day in 2009 K Chandrasekhar Rao started his indefinite fast for Telangana statehood.

First-time Congress MLA Padmavathi then hailed Sonia Gandhi for granting statehood to Telangana. "As a mother, despite knowing that she will lose her (political) life, Sonia delivered the baby (Telangana state).

"No doubt the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and others also played their part but it was the sole will of Sonia that ensured statehood for Telangana," she said.

Concurring with the point, Deputy CM Rajaiah, however, said it was KCR's hunger-strike that forced the UPA government to announce plan to create the separate state.

As he went on to refer to the events that followed,

Congress members were on their feet in protest and trooped into the well leading to the first adjournment.

When the proceedings resumed after more than an hour, senior Congress MLA Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said Sonia Gandhi was "the goddess" who granted statehood to Telangana by paying a heavy political price. He took strong exception to the Deputy CM's remarks and wanted him to withdraw them.

"It is left to the member's wisdom," he added. "We have been supporting the government with a large heart in the larger interests of the new state. It is very unfortunate that the Deputy CM has made disparaging remarks against our party supremo."

However, Rajaiah sought to justify his remarks, saying, "As a former Congress man, I have a lot of respect for Sonia Gandhi." But his explanation failed to mollify the protesting opposition members.

The Congress legislators once again stormed the Speaker's podium even as he announced that he would go through the record and expunge the objectionable portions.

In the meantime, G Kishan Reddy said Congress could not claim credit for the creation of Telangana. "More than 1,200 youths sacrificed their lives for a separate state. Sonia Gandhi is responsible for this by delaying the decision on granting statehood," he claimed.

"Congress was also responsible for the killing of 369 people who agitated for Telangana in 1969," he alleged.

As this provoked Congress MLAs once again, the Speaker adjourned the house the second time for ten minutes.

When the proceedings resumed after 70 minutes, Vikramarka demanded an apology from Reddy.

"Kishan has no moral right to make unwarranted remarks

against Sonia Gandhi. When all legislators cutting across party lines resigned from their posts demanding statehood, Kishan went into hiding and did not quit," Vikramarka said.

The Deputy CM, meanwhile, reiterated that he had respect for Sonia Gandhi and the Speaker could remove his remarks from the record if there was anything objectionable.

Legislative Affairs Minister T Harish Rao appealed to the members to let the house take up discussion on proposed water grid and tank improvement, but Congress MLAs continued their protest in the well, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the Assembly sine die.

The house sat for 19 days during the session.