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Uttaranchal Bill passed in LS

Tribune News Service and UNI

NEW DELHI, Aug 1 — A Bill seeking to create Uttaranchal as a separate state comprising 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Udham Singh Nagar and Hardwar, was carried by vote in the Lok Sabha today.

The Uttar Pradesh reorganisation Bill, 2000, was moved for consideration and passed in the House by Home Minister L.K. Advani.

Congress members from Punjab Jagmeet Singh Brar and Balbir Singh walked out. Earlier, they along with members belonging to the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann (Ind) vociferously protested against the inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed state and delayed discussion on the Bill.

They demanded a statement from Mr Fernandes. Mr Zora Singh Mann (SAD) and other members of his party also protested against inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed Uttaranchal state.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, called on the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, before he introduced the Uttar Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill and took strong exception to the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, ignoring the predominant view of the people of Udham Singh Nagar.

Mr Badal is believed to have made it clear to Mr Advani that he as a member of the unofficial three-member committee headed by Mr Fernandes was not a party to the report that Udham Singh Nagar should be part of Uttaranchal.

In his now familiar style of going it alone and catching his colleagues off guard, Mr Fernandes stunned Mr Badal by submitting the report purportedly on behalf of the committee to Mr Advani last evening. Thereafter, he faxed the report to Mr Badal and the third member of the committee, Mr Ram Prakash Gupta, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

In a brief interaction with mediapersons, Mr Badal maintained that the report submitted by Mr Fernandes to the Union Home Ministry “is not that of the three-member committee.” He was categoric that it was a report authored solely by Mr Fernandes and not by him or Mr Gupta.

Mr Fernandes, however, queered the pitch for Mr Badal by stating in the Lok Sabha that the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh had given their consent to the report.