Lok Sabha Tuesday looked like a virtual battle-ground during the consideration of the controversial Telangana Bill with Congress members seen protecting Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and other top leaders from protesting members.
It also saw CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress as strange bedfellows as the two arch detractors in West Bengal politics were seen opposing the creation of Telangana, apparently with the concerns of demand for Gorkhaland in mind.
To avoid any pepper-spray type situation, Congress MPs like Aaron Rashid, Lal Singh, Bhakta Charan Das, Hamdullah Syed, Mahabal Mishra and others formed a cordon around the front rows of the treasury benches where UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Home Minister were seated when the Bill was taken up for consideration and passing.
However, Rashid and Singh, as well as a Left member were later seen distributing lozenges to the slogan-shouting MPs in the Well to help them soothe their throats.
An emotional Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar touched the feet of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, shortly before the Lok Sabha adopted the controversial bill to create a separate Telangana.
The MP from Karimnagar bowed before Gandhi as she left the House for a while.
After the bill was passed and the House was adjourned, Prabhakar sought to take out posters depicting Gandhi but was promptly told by her not to do so.
TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao, a prime proponent of Telangana, was seen walking to Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and thanking her for BJP support to the bill.
As the House took up clause-by-clause adoption of the measure, some CPI(M) members for the first time came to the Well protesting against the creation of Telangana. However, their CPI comrades supported the bill’s passage.
TMC members stormed the Well and shouted slogans like ‘aaj ka din kala hai, Congress-BJP joda hai’, ‘aaj ka din kala hai, Rahul-Modi joda hai’ and ‘Sushma-Sonia jodi hai’.
When minister S Jaipal Reddy said the demand for separate Telangana goes back to 60 years and wondered whether Andhra was “sleeping like Kumbhakarna all these years”, Gandhi was seen suggesting to him not to use any harsh word.
Also seeking to take credit for the bill, Swaraj said, “After the passage of the bill, you start giving credit to Sonia Gandhi…but don’t forget this ‘Chinnamma’ (a little mother – a reference to herself).”
The least number of women candidates have been fielded by the Congress which has given tickets to just five women contestants.