Ruckus in Lok Sabha as railway minister delivers budget speech

Ruckus in Lok Sabha as railway minister delivers budget speech

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had to cut short his speech in the Lok Sabha as the House witnessed unprecedented chaos when he presented the interim rail budget on Wednesday.

MPs and several Union ministers from Andhra Pradesh cutting across party lines troop into the well of the House and stage a noisy protest against the move to create Telangana. They continued shouting slogans even when the Kharge was presenting the budget.

An agitated MP of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) stood up on a chair, while the others tore official papers. A clash between an MP seeking Telangana and another opposed to it was averted with intervention of the veterans.

The Congress deployed some of its MPs to form a ring around Kharge and protect him and his budget papers. But, with the chaos continuing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi was seen asking Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath to convey to Kharge that he should cut down his speech.

Kharge had to finish off his maiden budget speech in just 13 minutes. He urged the House to consider the rest of speech as read. The trouble started as soon as the House met for the day at 11:00 am. Speaker Meira Kumar had to adjourn the House within a few minutes.

As soon as the House reassembled at 12:00 noon, MPs from the Congress, TDP and the YSR Congress Party marched into the well of the House with anti-Telangana posters and placards. After papers were laid amid the din, Kharge rose to present the budget from the second row of the Treasury Bench, with Sonia, Nath and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on the first row.

With the agitating parliamentarians raising pitch and turning aggressive, some of the other Congress MPs, like Lal Singh and Jagdambika Pal, almost encircled the first and second rows, ostensibly to preempt any bid to disrupt presentation of the rail budget. Congress’s deputy chief whip Madhu Goud Yashki, who himself is known to be in favour of Telangana, was also seen stopping agitated party MP G V Harsha Kumar from approaching Kharge.

Textile Minister K S Rao and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism K Chiranjeevi also went to the well to join the protest. Two other Union ministers D Purandeshwari and K Suryaprakash Reddy also followed them.

Union Human Resource Development Minister, M Pallam Raju, too rose from his seat as a mark of solidarity with the protesting MPs, some of whom even snatched pens and papers from the desk of the secretary-general.

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