No end in sight. Opposition decides not to talk with the UPA on anything at all

New Delhi : Telangana may remain stillborn during the tenure of the UPA-II government as it cannot get the Bill for the new state’s creation passed in the current and its last Parliament session without the support of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

The support appeared certain on Wednesday, but the BJP on Thursday revolted against the government’s ‘false’ claim of introducing the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in the Lok Sabha, with Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj declaring that “there will be no more talks of any kind with the government”.

The party’s turnaround from its promise to the Prime Minister only 24 hours earlier to support the Bill came after the fracas over the government pushing the Bill at noon on Thursday by surprise and putting it on the supplementary agenda distributed only two hours later at 2 pm.  BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who had attended a meeting called by the PM with L K Advani, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley, said the party had clearly told him that the Bill should not be passed in noise, though it had no objection to its introduction in the House.  She denied that the Bill was formally introduced in the Lok Sabha and took a delegation of the Opposition to the Speaker to lodge a protest at the irregular proceedings conducted to oblige the government with its ‘design’.

Why papers listed on the agenda were not laid first, she asked. Sushma said the whole media was present and it would vouch for her that the Bill was not introduced as claimed by the government. “Whatever happened today crossed all limits. It is not only unfortunate but shameful and Congress is responsible for it. The ruckus started before the Speaker came, Congress MPs clashed and were at blows. And then something was sprayed … MPs started coughing.” she said.

While Home Minister Sushil Kumar Sinde claimed the Bill was duly introduced, Sushma insisted that the bill was not introduced as long as she was in the House.

“Because until I was in the house, they had not even read an ‘I’ of introduction. I was in the House for a long time. I wanted to sit even after they used the spray, but marshals told me the gas can be harmful and I should leave. I don”t know when the Speaker came, when the Bill was introduced,” she said.  Even Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath insisted that the Bill was properly introduced despite the din. He claimed “CCTV cameras have recorded that the Bill was introduced and that is the end of the matter.”

The Bill was put on the supplementary agenda that Sushma claims to have been distributed two hours after Shinde tried to bring the Bill in the Lok Sabha.  Even the proceedings of the House do not support the government’s contention fully the Speaker recorded saying the motion was adopted but nothing is recorded on her behalf after Shinde is recorded as saying: “Madam, I introduce the Bill.”

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