Prabhu peppers budget speech with pearls of wisdom

Prabhu peppers budget speech with pearls of wisdom

Prabhu peppers budget speech with pearls of wisdom

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s budget speech on Thursday was peppered with lines from poet Harivanch Rai Bachhan, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and even Gautam Buddha.

The usual scene of some MPs cheering on announcements about the new trains and the disgruntled lot shouting in protest was missing for almost the entire course of his budget speech, as Prabhu for the second year in a row refrained from treading the populist path.

 Barring a brief uproar by some opposition MPs towards the end of his 66-minute speech, the Lok Sabha listened to him with rapt attention, with occasional thumping of the desks by the members of the ruling BJP and its allies.

With his wife Uma and son Amaya in the visitors’ gallery, the railway minister rose to present his budget at 12:04 pm.

 He commenced his speech narrating some of his personal experiences as the rail minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. He recalled his visit to Mumbai Central station and interaction with some women, who were members of a non-governmental organisation that had adopted the station. He found them very happy for being able to volunteer a day every month at the station and do their bit for the national cause. He also shared the feelings of a Railway Protection Force personnel, who was recently given the task of redressing grievances of passengers registered on social media.

“Bipadaye Ati He Aye, Ham Na Rukenge, Ham Na Rukhenge, Aghato ki kya chinta hain? Ham Na Jhukenge, Ham Na Jhukenge (If challenges have to come, let them come. We shall not stop. We shall not stop. Why should we worry about being hurt? We will not give up. We will not give up,” Prabhu quoted Vajpayee while referring to the challenges before the Indian Railways. To stress on the need to re-imagine the conventional ways of solving issues, he also quoted a poem by eminent Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan: “Naba Umang, Naba Tarang, Jivan Ka Naba Prasang, Nabal Chah, Nabal Rah, Jivan Ka Naba Pravaha” (New day, new wave, new context of life, new desire, new avenues, new flow of life). “Cooperation, collaboration, creativity and communication should be the hallmark of our decision-making and actions,” added the rail minister.

Amid applause from the BJP MPs, Prabhu also quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, articulating his vision to make railways the backbone of India’s progress and economic development. He also won the accolades from the Treasury Bench when he narrated the government’s efforts to bring about a transformation in the Indian Railways.

He continued unperturbed, even as Trinamool MPs questioned why West Bengal was being discriminated against in the rail budget.

Towards the end of his speech, some opposition MPs started shouting, criticising the budget. Prabhu, however, continued: “Even as our journey continues, I am reminded of Gautama Buddha who said that whenever one contemplates a journey, there are two mistakes one can make: not starting, and not going all the way.”