TDP MLAs protest at the Speaker's podium in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday (C Narayana Rao/DC)
VIJAYAWADA: The AP Assembly witnessed acrimonious scenes on Wednesday on the issue of the government "misleading the House" over the alleged protocol violation and insult to Governor S. Abdul Nazeer by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and others, at the start of the Session on Tuesday.
A dozen Telugu Desam MLAs were suspended from the Assembly after the disruption of the proceedings and MLAs climbing the podium in a show of protest.
Public accounts committee chairman Payyavula Kesav, Nimmala Rama Naidu and YSRC rebel MP Kotamreddy Sridhar were suspended till the end of the Budget Session and the rest of the nine legislators for a day.
Curiously, rebel YSRC MLA from Nellore (rural) assembly constituency Kotamreddy Sridhar turned against his own party in the Assembly on the second day of the Budget Session.
Finance minister Buggana Rajendranath referred to the statement from Payyavula Kesav that CM Jagan forced Governor Nazeer to wait in the Speaker’s chamber, by arriving late, in a violation of the protocol norms and rules on Tuesday.
The minister argued that CM Jagan, Speaker Sitaram, council chairman Koyye Moshen Raju and ministers followed the protocol and there was no violation. But Kesav insulted the Governor, the Speaker, CM and the entire government by "telling a lie."
He said Kesav and other MLAs boycotted the Governor half way through his speech on Tuesday and left the House. Later Kesav spoke to the media and said the CM made the Governor wait in the green room, which was an insult to the first citizen of the state.
Minister Rajendranath said the same was published in a TD-supported vernacular daily and showed the clipping.
YSRC minister Ambati Rambabu, Merugu Nagarjuna and other legislators sought action against Kesav and proposed a privileged motion against Kesav and the vernacular Telugu daily (Eenadu). They said CM Jagan welcomed Governor Nazeer and a Guard of Honour was accorded to the Governor.
They said that, recently, TD falsely carried out a propaganda about use of third-degree methods by police against TD leader Kommalapati Pattabhiram "by using old photos", and now the TD resorted to another false propaganda through Kesav and other leaders vis-à-vis the governor’s protocol issue.
They recalled that Governor Nazeer had, in his speech, mentioned about his throat infection, a possible cause for delay, but there was no violation of protocol or insult. The majority of legislators sought action against Kesav and the vernacular daily and said they be called before the Privileges Committee for an inquiry.
Speaker Sitaram said that, in fact, nothing had happened in violation of the Governor's protocol. The Governor went to the toilet as per his wish and then sat in his chamber for a while to take warm water due to his throat infection.
An angry Kesav first tried to defend his act by saying the statement was not made by him. Rajendranath showed the video clip on the screen and then he admitted he made the statement but defended it by saying there was nothing wrong in that.
Heated arguments and accusations followed, stalling the proceedings and leading to the suspension of Kesav and Rama Naidu for the rest of Session. Enraged TD legislators came to well and climbed the podium, shouting slogans against the Speaker. As the scene worsened, a dozen MLAs of the TD were suspended.
Further, the Speaker suspended rebel MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar as he stood atop in the Assembly, showed placards and joined the protests with TD for the rest of the session.
The Speaker said that the video of TD MLA Kesav will be played before the privileges committee and stern action will be taken against the TD MLA.
The other suspended members of the TD were Bendalam Ashok, Kinjarapu Atchannaidu, Adireddy Bhavani, Nimmakayala Chinarajappa, Gana Babu, Gadde Rammohan, Manthena Ramaraju, Gottipati Ravikumar, Eluri Sambasiva and DBV Swamy.