Row over blackout during Telangana vote: Sushma Swaraj to take up ‘tactical glitch’ with Speaker

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9sushmaNew Delhi:  The BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, has said she will take up with the Speaker today the TV blackout on Tuesday while the lower house hurriedly discussed and passed the controversial legislation that creates a Telangana state by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. (Track LIVE Updates)

Lok Sabha TV said yesterday that a “technical glitch” caused the unprecedented suspension of live telecast from three minutes after the Lok Sabha reconvened at 3 pm yesterday.  As a result, the nation could not watch as the house took up the bill clause by clause and passed it by voice vote, with the BJP supporting the government in passing it. (Telangana row: Kiran Kumar Reddy to resign, form new party)

Ms Swaraj, who was in the house and even spoke on the bill, later tweeted, “They say that the blackout of Lok Sabha was due to a ‘technical glitch’. No. It was a tactical glitch.” She also said, “We strongly condemn the blackout of the proceedings of Lok Sabha. It was done without our knowledge.”

The blackout, never seen since 1996 when live telecast of Parliament proceedings began, has been called the “murder of democracy” by angry lawmakers.

Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi walked out of the House and said, “Today democracy has come to a standstill.” His party is livid that a division of votes that it sought was not allowed.

The Janata Dal United staged a walkout.

The Left has called it “match fixing between the BJP and the Congress” to “undemocratically” pass a crucial bill that divides a state without adequate debate. The BJP’s lack of protest at the blackout and the way the bill was passed amid slogan-shouting has been questioned. The party had earlier said it would not debate and help pass the bill in din.

Ms Swaraj later said, “We have always supported the bill, we would have helped pass it anyway. But we oppose the game the Congress played to pass it.”

Senior ministers like Sushil Kumar Shinde and Salman Khurshid had refused comment on the blackout.

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