Rail Budget 2013: SIDELIGHTS
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Rail Budget 2013: SIDELIGHTS

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 18:50
 
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New Delhi: Pawan Kumar Bansal's maiden railway budget appeared to have been shown the red signal by allies and supporting parties if the uproar in the Lok Sabha was an indication.

Rail Budget 2013: Between the lines for Aam Aadmi

Bansal's 75-minute speech was initially heard in rapt attention but murmurs of protests broke out as he announced setting up of new rail-based factories.

SP member R K Singh Patel even tore some papers and flung it at the Chair as Bansal read his speech.

The opposition and some allies claimed that the new initiatives have been announced on constituencies of members belonging to Congress.

The later part of Bansal's speech was drowned in uproar as members of the SP, BSP, JD(U), Trinamool and some Left parties stormed the Well and shouted anti-Congress slogans.

"It is not rail budget, but Rae Bareli budget," BJP members shouted from their seats in an obvious reference to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Gandhi was seen making aggressive gestures at the opposition as they protested against the rail budget.

Francisco Sardinha, who was in the chair in the post-lunch session, disapproved of the conduct of the members and also reprimanded R K Singh Patel for his action.

Over a dozen members of Rajya Sabha including Bhuvaneshwar Kalita and Mukut Mithi (both Cong), N K Singh and Shivanand Tewari (both JD-U) and Derek O'Brien (TMC) were present in the Rajya Sabha gallery when Bansal was reading out his speech.

Present in the Speaker's gallery were members of Bansal's family, including wife Madhu and sons.

Rahul Gandhi, the newly appointed Congress Vice President, was seen chatting with Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia as Bansal read out his speech.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was seated next to AICC General Secretary Vilas Muttemwar, complimented him every time Bansal made a reference to Muttemwar's constituency Nagpur.

Bansal had announced that the Railway Ministry would impart skills to the youth in rail-related trades at 25 locations including Nagpur.

He also announced setting up of a multi-disciplinary training institute at Nagpur for imparting training in rail related electronics technologies.

Muttemwar was seen returning the compliment when Bansal thanked Ramesh for agreeing to the request of railways to partner in some of the rail-related activities under the rural jobs scheme.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram was seen lauding the rail budget, particularly when Bansal made a reference to railway ministry repaying the Rs 3,000 crore loan taken from the Finance Ministry.

Chidambaram was also seen applauding Bansal for steps he planned to take to improve the fiscal condition of the railways.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde were seen congratulating Bansal after the presentation of the rail budget.

Soon after the presentation of the rail budget, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was seen having a word with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Gandhi was later seen talking to her son and party vice president Rahul, who later walked up to Lalu to have a chat.

Rahul was also seen greeting Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdury.

Former Railway ministers, including Suresh Kalmadi, Dinesh Trivedi, C P Joshi, Lalu Prasad, were present in the Lok Sabha when Bansal read out the rail budget. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had also briefly held the portfolio, was also present.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 17:26

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