Chidambaram completes budget speech amid din


New Delhi : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s interim budget speech Monday seemed set to be derailed as he refused to carry amid the din in the Lok Sabha before resuming when most of the protesting members quietened down.

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As soon as Chidambaram began his speech, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s MP Basudeb Acharia and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his party’s Shailendra Kumar started protesting over the manner of introduction of the Telangana bill Thursday.

Several members from Andhra Pradesh, including central ministers Chiranjeevi and D. Purandewari, were seen standing near the speaker’s podium holding placards demanding a united Andhra Pradesh

Many others including Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju were seen standing in the aisle.

Amid the din, Chidambaram was seen asking Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath to ensure that the protesting MPs went back to their seats.

When told by Kamal Nath that he was audible so he should continue, Chidambaram said: “I don’t intend to. No, no, sorry”.

As Chidambaram stood asking for order to be restored, Speaker Meira Kumar told the MPs to return to their seats.

“These are the last few days of the 15th Lok Sabha, Interim budget is the constitutional duty of the finance minister. Please let the budget happen,” she said.

Even as MPs belonging to other parties left the space near the speaker’s podium following the speaker’s request, those from Andhra Pradesh continued to raise slogans irking the finance minister, who, however, decided to continue this time.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh was seeing making an attempt to pacify Bodoland People’s Front MP Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary, who was demanding something.

Ramesh offered to take a piece of paper the MP from Kokrajhar was waving to the speaker, Bwiswmuthiary refused and the minister returned to his seat with a shrug.

Towards the end of Chidambaram’s speech, Trinamool Congress MPs trooped near the speaker’s podium demanding a financial package for West Bengal.

Among those who shouted slogans were party members Kalyan Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.

According to reports, the UPA government had made contingency plans to make the finance minister give his budget speech from the Lok Sabha TV studio, located in the parliament complex itself, in case it was disrupted in the lower house.

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had to table his budget speech Feb 12 after facing repeated disruptions by pro and anti-Telangana MPs.