NEW DELHI: The government may have bought peace with the Opposition by agreeing to debates on price rise and black money, but was stumped by its own benches when Congress MPs from Telangana, along with members of the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, disrupted Lok Sabha over their demand for a separate state. The pro-Telangana brigade shouted slogans just as the Lok Sabha reassembled post-lunch to discuss the motion on price rise, forcing an adjournment for the day.
Incidentally, not a single Cabinet minister was present to rein in the agitating Telangana Congress MPs. Even the Treasury benches were empty as the ruling party MPs chose to skip the debate on an issue that has become the Centre’s biggest headache.
Finally, it was left to the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj to play the peacemaker. She tried to convince the Telangana MPs to allow the discussion on price rise to proceed, assuring that the BJP, which is committed to the Telangana cause, would support them when their demand is taken up later by the House.
Telangana MPs still did not relent and the Chair, Karia Munda, adjourned the House for the day. The BJP was quick to fault the government over its failure to ensure good floor management.
“The Opposition tried its best to let the House function. We were ready to withdraw our adjournment motion on black money and discuss the motion on price rise. The Congress is solely responsible for the disruption. It does not want the House to function. The ruling party could not control its own MPs. Its floor management has collapsed,” Swaraj later said.
Senior Congress leaders said since Telangana is a sensitive issue, the party cannot afford to be harsh on its MPs from the region. The MPs had earlier tendered their resignations to the LS Speaker, who rejected them last week.
The Congress has already started efforts to persuade its MPs from Telangana not to disrupt the House, but admitted that the same would be difficult were the TRS to continue its protests in the Lok Sabha. The Congress MPs, who are answerable to the people of Telangana, would then have little option but to join the TRS in pressing for a separate state.
Trouble began in the Lok Sabha as soon as Meira Kumar called for the Question Hour. Congress and TRS MPs from Telangana were on their feet, flashing placards demanding a separate Telangana.
Seeking introduction of the Telangana bill in this session, TRS members led by K Chandrashekhar Rao and Vijayashanti gathered near the speaker and shouted slogans. They were supported by Congress members from the region. Kumar adjourned the house till noon but the protests continued when it reassembled.