Amid Telangana protests, governor stresses on peace

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan Monday called for conducting struggles based on the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence even as Congress party legislator from Telangana tried to disrupt his address to the joint session of the state legislature.

The legislators who supported the demand for a separate Telangana state continued to shout “Jai Telangana” slogans throughout the governor’s 45-minute speech and later walked out of the assembly.

The Congress is in power in Andhra Pradesh, but the demand for a separate Telangana state has created a rift among party legislators.

Legislators of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region — opposing bifurcation of the state — countered them with slogans of “samakhiya Andhra” or unified Andhra.

The TDP legislators from Telangana stayed away from the session to protest the terms of reference of the Srikrishna panel looking into the statehood demand. They have rejected the terms of reference which they claim are unfavourable to the demand for separate Telangana.

In his address to the joint session of the state legislature on the first day of the budget session, Governor Narasimhan made a fervent appeal to all legislators to help maintain peace and tranquility in the state and work unitedly for its development.

“For the last four months, the state is going through difficult times, affecting public order, pace of development and image of the state,” he said in an obvious reference to the movements for and against a separate Telangana state.

Narasimhan said the government had the responsibility to ensure peace and offer protection to people’s lives and property.

“We have recently celebrated 60 years of our Republic when we fondly recalled the great sacrifices of men and women for freedom led by Mahatma Gandhi, who unflinchingly stood by the principle of non-violence. We must forever conduct struggles on this high principle of dignity and discipline,” he said.

Quoting first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he said development would not be possible without peace.

“We are meeting here at a very difficult juncture in the history of our state. Several crucial events have taken place in last 12 months,” he said at the beginning of his speech, referring to the economic slowdown, death of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash, unprecedented floods in Krishna River, drought and agitation over the Telangana issue.

A couple of hours before the session began, speaker N. Kirankumar Reddy accepted the resignations of 12 out of 15 Telangana legislators who had submitted their resignations Sunday.

Resignations of all 10 legislators of TRS and one each of TDP and BJP have been accepted while no decision has been taken on resignations of two legislators of Congress and one of PRP.

Earlier, TDP legislators staged a sit-in at the main entrance of the assembly building to protest the police firing on Osmania University students Sunday night while Congress legislators staged a protest at Gunpark opposite the assembly building.

They also boycotted the customary breakfast hosted by the speaker.

The all-party Joint Action Committee (JAC) has asked all 119 legislators from the region and other elected representatives to quit by Monday evening.

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