Opposition walkout mars Mukherjee's Budget presentation
In an unusual departure from the norm, opposition MPs walked out of the Lok Sabha during Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's Budget presentation to protest some taxation proposals, provoking the minister to stop in his tracks and shout impatiently that he be allowed to continue.business Updated: Feb 26, 2010 13:38 IST
In an unusual departure from the norm, opposition MPs on Friday walked out of the Lok Sabha during Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's Budget presentation to protest some taxation proposals, provoking the minister to stop in his tracks and shout impatiently that he be allowed to continue.
Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Left parties, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) rose from their seats when Mukherjee spoke of the basic duty on crude oil being restored.
"This (budget) is a constitutional requirement," an angry Mukherjee told the opposition MPs, many of whom were standing up and drowning him out.
But they walked out nonetheless and didn't come back, leaving Mukherjee to finish the last 15 minutes of his speech without the opposition.
The only ones left were independents Jaswant Singh, Digvijay Singh and Inder Singh Namdhari as well as the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Trinamool Congress-backed Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI).
The walkout marred a presentation that lasted an hour and 45 minutes -- less than Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's rail budget speech - and had begun with pin-drop silence.
There were some moments of levity as well in the businesslike hour and 45 minute presentation.
"Since I stopped smoking many years ago, I would ask others also to do so," Mukherjee said, allowing a smile to crease his face, when he dealt on tobacco.
The first 90 minutes of the speech, however, were quite in contrast to the consistent din that marred Banerjee's budget two days ago.
The opposition, which was up in arms on Wednesday when Banerjee outlined the rail budget, had listened solemnly as Mukherjee began reading out from the voluminous papers in front of him.
Banerjee came in for much jeering for favouring her home state West Bengal and provoked laughter for her pronunciation. But her fellow Bengali was spared the same as the most serious economic business of the year got underway.