New Delhi: Law-makers were on their worst behaviour in parliament today as those supporting a new state of Telangana clashed with others who are opposed to the government's proposal to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. 16 parliamentarians have been suspended for the unprecedented violence inside the Lok Sabha.
Here are 10 big developments in this story:
- In the clashes that began at about 12 pm, a pepper spray was used by L Rajagopal of the Congress on other lawmakers. He belongs to the Congress and is opposed to the plans to split Andhra Pradesh. (Track updates)
- Three parliamentarians were rushed to hospital after they complained that their eyes were burning. A fourth, K Narayan Rao, was admitted for severe chest pains. (Blog: a reporter's account of today's Lok Sabha violence)
- Speaker Meira Kumar then consulted leaders from different parties about what action to take against the offenders. 16 parliamentarians have been suspended.
- Gas masks were brought to Parliament when the Lok Sabha reconvened after the violence. After the Speaker listed those suspended, the house was adjourned. (First pepper spray, then gas masks in Parliament)
- Venugopal Reddy from the Telugu Desam Party or TDP denied reports that he pulled out a knife in the Lok Sabha. "I pulled a mic, not a knife," he said to NDTV, stressing that he will not apologize. He is opposed to the plans to carve out Telangana as India's 29th state. (Watch: TDP MP denies pulling out knife in Parliament) In the clashes, a computer was flung and broken.
- The government says Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde introduced the Telangana bill before the clashes erupted, but the BJP refuted it.
- Daily protests over the plans to split Andhra Pradesh have paralyzed this session of Parliament which began on Feb 5 and ends on the 21st. ('This is terrorising parliamentary democracy': reactions)
- Yesterday, the Prime Minister said of the disruptions, many of which have seen vandalism, "My heart bleeds to see what is happening in the House."
- The government is determined to push the Telangana plan through Parliament in this session so that it can profit with voters in the region in the national election, due by May. Leaders from the non-Telangana regions are vehemently opposed to the plan to downsize Andhra Pradesh.
- The main opposition party, the BJP, has said it is likely to support the bill but the government must ensure that Parliament is orderly and is able to debate the proposal.