Mallikarjun Kharge forced to cut short budget speech
Unprecedented chaos during the presentation of the interim rail budget in the Lok Sabha Wednesday forced Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge to cut short his speech.
The space near the speaker's podium resembled a battle ground as members both favouring and opposing the proposed Telangana state shouted slogans and showed placards during the presentation of the interim rail budget.
The ruckus began soon after the house met at noon after an hour-long adjournment earlier due to noisy scene over the Telanagana issue.
A clash was averted between a supporter and an opponent of the proposal for a Telangana state due to alertness of some leaders, including Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United, Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress and Jagadambika Pal of the Congress.
The members who moved aggressively towards each other were M. Jagannath of the Congress and N. Sivaprasad of the Telugu Desam Party.
Four union ministers from Seemandhra also trooped near the speaker's podium demanding a united Andhra Pradesh. The ministers were K.S. Rao, D. Purandeshwari, Chiranjeevi and K. Surya Prakash Reddy.
Ministers M. Pallam Raju and Kruparani Killi also supported them by standing at their seats.
Kharge only read a part of his speech, for all of 14 minutes. The full speech copy, along with the other documents that included a vote on account for the first four months of the next fiscal, was laid on the table of the house.
The house witnessed further trouble after AIADMK and Trinamool Congress members walked near the speaker's podium, alleging discrimination against their states -- Tamil Nadu and West Bengal -- in the rail budget.
As Kharge was presenting the budget, some Seemandhra members carrying placards hailing a united Andhra Pradesh walked near the treasury benches where Sonia Gandhi,Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath were seated and threw a placard in their direction, which landed on their desk.
The placard was swiftly removed by Kamal Nath. Sonia Gandhi remained calm and did not react to the incident.
At the end of Kharge's rail budget speech, some parliamentarians tore the official papers and threw them in the air.
The Lok Sabha was later adjourned for the day, making it the sixth straight day of disruptions over the Telangana issue.
Turmoil in parliament over Telangana and other issues has taken a toll on the proceedings ever since the extended winter session began Feb 5.
(Posted on 12-02-2014)
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