Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa today described finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as the "Chanakya" of the UPA government and "PM" while fumbling for the right word in the Lok Sabha, drawing peals of laughter from members, including Sonia Gandhi.
While replying to a question on the need for more funds and resources for on-going projects of the railways, he said, "Some states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Jharkhand have come forward to share 50 per cent of the cost. There is a fund crunch. But our Pranabda, who is Chanakya of the UPA government, is here."
Praising Mukherjee, Muniyappa said he was hopeful that the finance minister will give more funds to the ministry.
However, he fumbled in the process much to the amusement of the members.
"Our PM.... our CM.... our Pranabda... our FM," Muniyappa said, looking for the right word.
When members took dig at him saying Mukherjee is not PM, Muniyappa said, "He may be, he may be."
While Sonia Gandhi was all smiles, Mukherjee waved a denial to the members.
Muniyappa also mentioned Gandhi and expressed the hope that more funds will be provided and all projects completed.
Arjun Meghwal (BJP), who had asked the question, said he had not asked who was Chanakya of UPA government.
"We welcome that Pranab Mukherjee is the Chanakya. But if Chanakya is not informed about the projects and the funds required, how will he sanction it?" Meghwal posed.
Gandhi and Mukherjee were seen exchanging smiles and talking to each other when these comments were made.