Vidarbha demand interrupts President's address
The President's address to Parliament was marred when some members interrupted K R Narayanan to raise the demand for a separate state for Vidarbha in Maharashtra.
When the President referred to the government's commitment to
carve out the states of Chhatisgarh, Vananchal and Uttaranchal, the Congress's Vilas Muttemwar, along with other MPs from Vidarbha, raised the demand for a separate state.
The demand was repeated when Vice-President Krishan Kant was reading out the Hindi translation of the address.
Just before 1100 hours, the President entered the tastefully
decorated Central Hall, with the two Secretaries-General S Gopalan of the Lok Sabha and C K Tripathi of the Rajya Sabha, followed by the two presiding officers, Krishan Kant and
newly elected Lok Sabha Speaker Ganti Mohana Chandra Balayogi. The President was flanked by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Lal Khurana.
As Narayanan took his place on the dais, flanked by Krishna
Kant and Balayogi, the National Anthem was played.
After the session was over, the procession marched out to the
accompaniment of a martial tune.
After a gap of a few years, the President addressed the joint
sitting in the Central Hall of Parliament in English and it was left to the vice-president to read out the Hindi translation.
Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma would read his
address in Hindi and Narayanan (then vice-president) would
read out the English translation. The onus of reading the Hindi
translation fell this year on Krishan Kant, who is also chairman
of the Rajya Sabha.
The President's address lasted 23 minutes. Earlier Presidential speeches have lasted 30 minutes. The Hindi rendition lasted 22 minutes.
Glamour was added to the Central Hall with the presence of
film stars Jaya Prada and Shabana Azmi who were seated with Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Three former prime ministers H D Deve Gowda, Chandra Shekhar and Inder Kumar Gujral were seated together.
The President was greeted with thumping of desks several times
during his address, especially when he referred to the smooth
conduct of elections, the government's resolve to uphold the unity
of the country, reservations and free education for women, and steps to help those affected by natural calamities.
The references to check the use of money and muscle power and
increasing cynicism in morality in politics and ethics were greeted
with laughter from some members.
Tell us what you think of this report