New Delhi : It is by now well-known that our parliamentarians have various shades to their characters. But 18 of them on Wednesday, all from Andhra Pradesh, opposing the formation of a separate Telangana, displayed in a few chaotic minutes the depths they can sink to.
They were later suspended for five sittings of the house, and this effectively means the end of this session. Their behaviour led to unanimous condemnation by all, even as they remained unapologetic and defiant about it. Ripping off the microphone from an official’s table has happened in the past as well. But using pepper spray to scare the members, and describing it as an act of self defiance outraged everyone. Worse still, in that chaos, the government claimed that it had introduced the Telangana Bill. Union home minister Sushil KumarShinde claimed that the bill is now a property of the House, and this left the leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj wondering as to when was the bill introduced. ‘‘During the time I was present in the house, I did not hear even the word ‘I” of introduction,” she said.
Quite clearly, given that the chaos had started even before Speaker Meira Kumar made an entry into the Lok Sabha, not just Swaraj, most other members were also dumbstruck at Shinde’s claim.” By the time he stood up, all hell had broken loose,” said a Congress MP who was left aghast at the day’s developments. At a great cost to national prestige and the democratic institutions, the House has been rid of the disrupters, but then it is anybody’s guess if the conditions conducive for the passage of the T-bill have been created.
Swaraj has made it clear that they would not be talking to the government henceforth; her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has described it as a stage managed drama.
Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, who has had a hand in shaping the Bill, came out with the strongest condemnation of Rajgopal’s behavior. ‘‘He has a right to have a different opinion. But then he has no business to carry out an assault. After this, he should get the strictest punishment. He should be debarred from contesting the elections,” he said.
But the question is who will debar Rajgopal and under what law? The House will now assemble on Monday, and there is no clarity as to whether the Bill would go through or meet some more hurdles.