Lawmakers Suspended From Indian Parliament Over State Demand

Eight lawmakers in India were suspended from parliament after they disrupted proceedings to push their demand for a new state, a call that has sparked violence in the province of Andhra Pradesh.

The lower house took the action against the legislators, all from the ruling Congress party, following a motion moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as the assembly resumed after a 24-day break.

The members representing constituencies in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh have been advocating the division of the southern province, with agitations frequently disrupting proceedings in parliament.

A 50-year-old campaign for statehood for Telangana was reinvigorated in December 2009 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government backed the idea as a local leader’s hunger strike triggered protests that closed roads and offices. Andhra Pradesh sends 42 lawmakers to the 545-member lower house of parliament and played a crucial role in back-to-back Congress election victories in 2004 and 2009.

The status of its capital Hyderabad, home to offices of Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), is at the heart of the dispute over Telangana, whose name is inspired by the Telugu language spoken in the region. India’s sixth-largest city, a center for information-technology and pharmaceuticals companies, lies within the proposed boundaries of the new state.

Repeated disruptions in at least the last five sessions over various issues have caused a yearlong policy paralysis and hampered the government’s efforts to push through bills. Singh’s administration plans to advance some key pieces of legislation, including banking reforms, further opening up of the insurance sector to foreign investment, and passage of the budget.

Today’s suspension precedes elections for a parliamentary seat and 18 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh due June 12.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hari Govind at hgovind@bloomberg.net

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