[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

India parliament approves new state creation

The bill to create Telangana as the 29th state was backed by the country's two main rival parties.

Last updated: 20 Feb 2014 18:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The bill had been the subject of fierce debate in Parliament and on the streets [EPA]

India's Parliament has approved a plan to create a 29th state following days of political mayhem, including a melee in which a politician unleashed pepper spray on his colleagues.

Members of groups opposed to the division of southern Andhra Pradesh state into it and the new state called Telangana from Andhra drowned out a speech by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just before the vote on Thursday by shouting "No, No."

However, the upper house passed the bill in a voice vote as the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party joined the ruling Congress party in supporting the legislation, which was approved by the lower house on Tuesday.

The president's assent to the bill will be the final step towards the creation of the new state, which the Congress party wanted achieved before national elections in the summer.

Politicians who opposed the splitting of Andhra Pradesh shouted slogans, held placards in protest and even tore copies of the bill as Singh attempted to address the house.

Supporters have campaigned for 53 years for economically deprived Telangana, which they say has been neglected by successive state governments. 

But wealthier regions of Andhra Pradesh, home to IT giants including Google and Microsoft, have strongly opposed the split which they say would create economic upheaval.

Hyderabad, the IT hub, will serve as joint capital of both states for at least the next 10 years.

'Shameful' behaviour

The chief minister of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh resigned on Wednesday in protest over the contentious bill.

Kiran Kumar Reddy announced on Wednesday he was stepping down with a "heavy heart" as chief minister, and from the ruling Congress party, over the bill.

Reddy's move came a day after uproar during a vote on the bill in the lower house of parliament that saw a blackout of live televised proceedings amid fears of vociferous protests by opposing MPs.

Reddy slammed as "shameful" politicians' behaviour in pushing through the bill without proper debate, and also attacked the decision to cut the TV feed to stop the public watching.

"The manner in which the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha [lower house] reflects the new depths to which our parliamentary institutions have sunk in," Reddy wrote in his resignation letter.

372

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.