For the first time in the last few days, a minister's speech did not get drowned in opposition-sponsored disturbances. It was also the first time in the recent past that no visitors were allowed to sit in the Lok Sabha galleries to witness the presentation of a budget.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram presents the Interim Budget 2014 in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)
As many as 16 anti-Telangana MPs were suspended from the House last week following the ugly scenes during the introduction of the Telangana Bill. Some protestors including union ministers like Pallam Raju, Chiranjeevi, KS Rao and D Purundeshwari held placards and stood silently next to Chidambaram throughout the speech on Monday.
The Lok Sabha secretariat also continued to keep the visitors galleries vacant in the House to curb security threat. It was a rare sight as the galleries generally remain full during such occasions.
Trinamool Congress MPs, led by its Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, came down to the well to shout for moratorium for West Bengal. Some AIDMK MPs also joined protests for a brief period but these disruptions didn't affect the speech. The Congress floor managers, according to sources, had worked overtime to ensure that disruptions do not derail the smooth introduction of the interim budget.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, however, was not lucky as Trinamool MPs steeped up the heat and forced an adjournment. Even as discussions had started on the interim railway budget, it had to be stopped midway and the budget had to be passed amid din before adjournment.
The roads leading to Parliament also saw thick security covers with additional deployment of forces. Many cars and auto rickshaws were not allowed to come near the parliament building.