Bonhomie marks first day of Budget Session in Rajya Sabha

Bonhomie reigned in Rajya Sabha on the first day of the Budget Session on Monday as the House met almost two months after the acrimonious Winter Session.

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2011, 16:29 PM IST

New Delhi: Bonhomie reigned in Rajya
Sabha on the first day of the Budget Session on Monday as the
House met almost two months after the acrimonious Winter
Session that saw the Opposition and the UPA at loggerheads
over the demand for JPC probe into the 2G spectrum issue.

While Leader of the House Prime Minister Manmohan
greeted the Opposition members warmly with folded hands,
Deputy Leader of the House SS Ahluwalia walked up to Treasury
benches and exchanged pleasantries with Singh.

Before the House commenced, Defence Minister AK
Antony was seen walking up to the Opposition benches and
meeting leaders from different parties.

Similarly, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs
Ashwini Kumar, who attended the House for the first time after
taking oath as a Union minister last month, was greeted warmly
by Ahluwalia when the former went to him.

President Pratibha Patil`s address to the joint
sitting of Parliament was tabled in the House.

The last session that ended on December 13 was washed
out as the Opposition pressed for formation of Joint
Parliamentary Committee to probe the 2G spectrum scam and the
government refused to concede the demand.

The Budget Session has commenced amid clear signals
that the government has agreed to constitute such a panel now.

The Prime Minister introduced the new ministers to the
House including those who were elevated or whose portfolios
were changed. They included Union ministers Salman Khurshid,
Sriprakash Jaiswal, Ashwini Kumar, Praful Patel, KC Venugopal
and Beni Prasad Verma.

The House also paid tributes to five former Rajya
Sabha members K Karunakaran, Surendra Mohan, Mohammed
Khaleelur Rahman and IT Lohani who passed away recently.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari also condoled the
death of noted musician Pandit Bhimsen Joshi saying the
country has lost "one of its most respected and versatile
musicians" and a "towering genius".

PTI