New Delhi: Parliament on Thursday continued to witness protest from the members of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress over demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh and other financial benefits to the State.
In Lok Sabha, members of the two parties again staged separate protests, forcing a brief adjournment during Question Hour while the Rajya Sabha witnessed pandemonium over the issue even as the attempts to resolve the issue by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu failed.
As the Lok Sabha met, members from the TDP and the YSR Congress trooped near the Speaker’s podium with placards and started raising slogans demanding “justice” for Andhra Pradesh.
The protest and sloganeering continued even as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan urged the members to go back to their seats. Midway through the Question Hour, TDP MP N Sivaprasad picked some books related to rules of proceedings from Lok Sabha Secretary General’s table and tried to leave with them, prompting the Speaker to say that he was causing a threat for others. “They are working for you, if something happens to them… This is not proper, please keep distance from them,” Mahajan said, referring to the Lok Sabha secretariat staff who are seated on a table in front of the Speaker’s podium.
The members stood around the Secretary General’s table while protesting. An angry Speaker then adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When the sitting resumed, the protest continued. Sivaprasad was also seen beating a rattle during the protest. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar then urged the members to stop the protest when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley comes for the reply to the Budget debate. Union Minister YS Chowdary, who is from the TDP, also asked the protesting members to give some time to the government. “If the issues are not resolved in 15 days, we can have an exclusive discussion on this…,” he said.
The TDP members, however, continued their protest. As the debate proceeded, members from both the parties were still standing near the Speaker’s podium even though the sloganeering stopped. In Rajya Sabha, the scene was no different. Soon after the house reassembled at 12 noon, TDP members raked up the issue of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act and demanded a solution to the crisis. In an attempt to resolve the issue, Naidu allowed Chowdary to give suggestions over the demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh.
“If government is willing, there are some issues of special status category. My request to the government is that if they can commit to resolve the issue in 15 days. The Finance Minister should address this concern in his reply to the budget speech,” he said.
“On behalf of the government, I would like to mention here, at the cost of repetition, that the entire house is fully aware how the Andhra Pradesh Re-organization Act was passed so unscientifically and unreasonably. For which both the national parties are responsible.
“When we are talking about co-operative federalism, it cannot be partly co-operative. Respect has to be there for members, not for numbers. So, in this case, for the last three and a half years, our Government could not implement certain commitments given during enactment of this Act,” he added.
Chowdhury requested the government to commit that the Finance Minister will resolve the issue within fifteen days while replying to the budget discussion and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel assured that Jaitley will address the issue. But some of the members including YSR Congress raised objections to Chowdhury’s remarks.
“TDP is an ally of BJP and part of the government which has approved the President’s address. How can a minister differ from it now,” YSRCP member Vijaysai Reddy said. The Chairman then clarified that the Minister had given suggestion to find out a solution.
“There is no constitutional misuse. If anyone wants to give suggestion he can give. A minister as a member of his political party can give suggestion. He has not protested but gave suggestions to resolve the issue,” he said.
But the agitating members were on their feet and they continued with their protest. Naidu then adjourned the house till 2 p.m, saying: “You don’t want a solution. I am adjourning the house.”
The TDP members, who are a part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), have slammed the Union government for not keeping its promise and not following the “alliance dharma”.