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ATLAST KIRAN WON INITIAL BATTLE



Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy rose from his seat and flashed a thumbs-up sign, the moment Speaker Nadendla Manohar announced that the "Government resolution" moved by the former – rejecting the Telangana Bill - has been carried by voice vote this noon in the Assembly. Kiran's body language and a broad smile on his face denoted a certain "triumph" in what he feels has been a battle against both his Congress high command and also the UPA Government over the bifurcation of the state issue. It was a rather "face-saver" moment for Kiran as also his party colleagues from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions who have been collectively engaged in the battle for the past six months to keep the state united. Main Opposition TDP and YSR Congress MLAs from Seemandhra also got to share the moment of joy – at least on the floor of the Assembly – as they too had been fighting for the cause, though not on a common platform. All of them, however, had been one on their promise to "defeat" the AP Reorganisation Bill in Assembly and today's rejection of the draft legislation envisaging creation of Telangana state gave them a sense of "fulfilment". "We have fulfilled our promise made to the people of Seemandhra by rejecting the Bill in the Assembly," Minor Irrigation Minister T G Venkatesh remarked, summing up the mood in the pro-united AP camp. Not that the Telangana camp was dejected as such. It's equally joyous as a constitutional formality in the state formation process has been completed. "Our objective of seeing that the Bill is returned to the President of India within the given timeframe has been achieved. Our dream of seeing the formation of Telangana state is now going to become a reality," Deputy Chief Minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha noted. Taking a dig at the Chief Minister (who had been a cricketer), the Deputy CM remarked, "his drama has ended. There is no (last) ball or bat. The ground has been emptied."
The rejection of the Bill, meanwhile, happened amidst high drama in the Assembly. Anticipating trouble from the pro-Telangana MLAs, a large posse of marshals had been positioned around the Chief Minister's seat while members from Seemandhra stood guard at the Speaker's podium. TRS member T Harish Rao climbed a bench and tried to jump on to the Speaker's podium but was pulled down by the Seemandhra MLAs. Some Seemandhra legislators "embraced" their Telangana colleagues in a bid to prevent any unruly scenes as the resolution moved by the Chief Minister was put to vote. The Speaker ran through the process in less than two minutes before adjourning the House sine die.

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