Kharge's maiden Rail budget drowns in the din

Kharge's maiden Rail budget drowns in the din

 It was his maiden budget today but Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge would not have liked the way things went in the Lok Sabha as his speech was cut short abruptly due to disturbances by members.

Kharge read out his speech on interim budget but had to stop after less than 20 minutes because of intense sloganeering over Telangana issue.

At times, he was not even audible as his voice was drowned in the high pitch 'we want justice' chants from Andhra Pradesh members.

As soon as the House resumed at noon, nearly 30 members trooped into the Well and the numbers swelled as the interim budget presentation progressed.

Drama began to unfold as one of the TDP member snatched pen and papers from a Lok Sabha staff member. A few minutes later, some members from Andhra Pradesh got into a scuffle with other MPs even as the Railway Minister was delivering the speech.

Senior leaders including Sharad Yadav JD(U), Jagdambika Pal (Congress) and Saugata Roy (TMC) intervened and managed to avert a clash in the Well.

Some members tore papers in the Well while Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) Naramalli Sivaprasad stood on the chair meant for the Lok Sabha staff just in front of the Speaker.

Ruling members were also seen forming a ring to prevent others from reaching near the Railway Minister as he read out the speech.

In an unprecedented scene, four Union Ministers from Seemandhra were in the Well demanding a united Andhra Pradesh while UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was looking on.

Ministers K S Rao, D Purandeshwari, Chiranjeevi and K Surya Prakash Reddy were in the Well carrying posters saying 'Save A.P. Save India'. M Pallam Raju and Kruparani Killi were seen supporting them by standing in their seats.

As soon as the Railway Minister said he was tabling the speech and proceeded to read out the last paragraph, many members hurried towards the treasury benches. TMC leader Kalyan Banerjee and CPI(M) member M B Rajesh tried to approach the Minister.

All through UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, flanked by Union Ministers Kamal Nath and Sharad Pawar, was sitting in the front row. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present in the House while Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was seen chatting with some members during the speech.

Interestingly, Finance Minister P Chidambaram was not present in the House.
Amid the din, occasionally Congress members thumped the desks appreciating Kharge's speech. As the ruckus continued, Kharge ended his speech abruptly by just reading the last paragraph that quoted Jawaharlal Nehru.

The second row, where Kharge was seated along with his deputy Adhir Ranjan Chowhdury, was unusually crowded with about nine people squeezing in.
Union Ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Kapil Sibal, Veerappa Moily, Rajeev Shukla and Shashi Tharoor, among others, were present.

As the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after the chaotic proceedings, torn pieces of papers were seen on the floor.

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