Jaitley’s Budget reply cut short by opposition protest

New Delhi, Feb 8 : The Lok Sabha was adjourned on Thursday evening without Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's budget reply being over, amid ruckus by opposition members.

A unique scene was also witnessed shortly before the House was adjourned when members from Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who had been standing near the Speaker's podium with placards through his reply so far, surrounded Jaitley's seat to listen to his announcements regarding Andhra Pradesh, while members from Congress raised slogans, and other MPs of opposition parties supported Congress from their seats.

In the course of his reply on the Budget debate, Jaitley said Congress was trying to manufacture a scam in Rafale fighter jet purchase because it could not find corruption case in the Narendra Modi led government's tenure so far.

The Finance Minister also quoted a number of written replies to Parliament by Ministers from the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments, where they had refused to quote the price in defence deals siting security concerns.

This was countered by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who said the opposition did not want any details that would compromise national security and the government can just reveal the price of purchase.

Jaitley however said that a breakup of the price may reveal details of the missiles and equipment that are in the deal.

He also questioned if Congress President Rahul Gandhi was on the same page as Tharoor, prompting protests from opposition benches.

Following this, Congress members insisted that Rahul Gandhi, who came in the House just as the Rafale issue was being raised, should be allowed to speak.

Congress also got support from Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist members, and Trinamool's Saugata Roy raised a point of order saying that since Jaitley had referred to the Congress President, Gandhi should be allowed to speak.

Congress members meanwhile trooped near the Speaker's podium, where members from TDP and YSR Congress were already standing with placards, and started raising slogans.

Members from treasury benches meanwhile also raised their pitch as Congress members demanded clarification on the Rafale deal, and in the ruckus, the TDP members who had been quiet so far, also started raising slogans.

Jaitley however said that he did not want to his speech to be interrupted and said he would speak on Andhra Pradesh issues.

Amid ruckus by Congress and other opposition members, the TDP members surrounded the Finance Minister's chair to listen to the announcements.

On this, opposition members took a jibe and questioned if it was a NDA meeting.

In din from different corners of the House, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day without Jaitley's reply being completed or the Budget being passed.



Source: IANS