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India's raucous parliament sets stage for 'divisive' polls

Published on Feb 21, 2014 8:58 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - After pepper spray, scuffles and table smashing, India's often dysfunctional parliament ended its final session before general elections in acrimony on Friday, setting the stage for a bitter poll campaign.

The Lok Sabha did at least manage to pass some legislation in its final weeks, but its most notable achievement - approval for the creation of the state of Telangana - took place out of the public eye after the live television feed was cut as tempers erupted on the floor of the house.

While Speaker Meira Kumar blamed a technical glitch, commentators said she was trying to spare parliament more embarrassment only days after an MP opposed to Telangana's creation sprayed capsicum at colleagues.

As the Lok Sabha convened at the beginning of the month after its winter recess, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath made a plea to the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to cooperate so important bills on corruption and disabled rights could be passed.

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