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Budget: Of snoring and missing MPs

By A Rediff Correspondent
Last updated on: February 16, 2009 20:26 IST
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Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss provided first aid to the Kerala MP Veerendra Kumar who fainted in the Lok Sabha while Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was reading the Interim Budget 2009-10.

When the Member of Parliament was about to fall Samajwadi Party MP raised his voice to say that Veerendra Kumar was fainting.

After a flutter Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned the house for ten minutes to give relief to the MP and also allow the Secretariat to organise a doctor.

But Ramadoss rushed to Veerendra Kumar seat and gave him first aid.

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Pranab Mukherjee's speech was so boring that half of the Treasury benches were found napping. Newsmen peeped from the Press Gallery to see the mood of the MPs.

Rahul Gandhi was keenly observing and writing on a piece of paper. .  . He was also seen passing on a chit to Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.

But Samajwadi Party MP Mohan Singh was not only dozing, but also snoring. The snores were audible on the ear phone of the Lok Sabha sound system.

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Pranab Mukherjee was reading the Budget speech very fast. He was also sweating a lot and every now and then would wipe his forehead with a paper napkin. At one point of time, due to heavy cough, it seemed like Mukherjee needed a few minutes' break.

It was a godsend when the Speaker adjourned the House for ten minutes because of Veerendra Kumar's illness.

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Left leader Gurudas Dasgupta said Pranab Mukherjee's Budget speech was like the Congress Working Committee meeting speech, given the number of times Mukherjee mentioned Sonia Gandhi's name. "Our finance minister has, in fact, made the first election speech in Parliament without announcing the names of the candidates and spelling out the dates. After seeing Lalu Prasad's lollipop, we have today seen Pranab-da's lollipop. The budget is simply a poll lollipop," Dasgupta said.

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DMK MPs were not keen to listen to the speech. Many of them were seen changing their seats from one row to another causing a lot of disturbance to Mukherjee.

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For the first time the Union Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam was not present with the Pranab Mukherjee. A sudden telephone call from the DMK headquarters had made the minister rush to Chennai. Of course, Palanimanickam took permission from Pranab-da.

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The government has earmarked a sum of Rs 1,120 crore (Rs 11.20 billion) to meet the expenses for the general elections likely to be held in April-May this year.

The outlay for election expenses has been provided for in the interim budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha.

The expenditure budget explains that provision has been made for meeting the carry forward liability in respect of general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha.

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