Budget 2018 sidelights: From PM Modi’s thumps of approval to Opposition’s barbs
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Budget 2018 sidelights: From PM Modi’s thumps of approval to Opposition’s barbs

The loudest thumping of desk by the PM was witnessed when Jaitley spoke about the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 16:13 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Union Budget 2018,Budget 2018,Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (C) leaves his office to table the budget in parliament in New Delhi on February 1, 2018. (AFP)

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday presented his fifth straight budget in the Lok Sabha with a speech that lasted almost two hours.

He was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after he completed his speech which went on for one hour and 50 minutes.

The prime minister was often seen vigorously thumping the desk, prompting his cabinet colleagues and NDA MPs to follow suit. Modi also kept encouraging his finance minister.

The loudest thumping of desk by the PM was witnessed when Jaitley spoke about the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme, which was followed by his announcement of the National Health Protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable sections.

The 66-year old Finance Minister, who was wearing grey kurta and a black Nehru coat, read out his speech by sitting in his seat after delivering the address standing for 25 minutes. In the last few minutes, Jaitley again rose and completed his speech.

Jaitely’s wife Sangeeta and son Rohan were present at the Speaker’s gallery to witness his budget presentation.

He was also greeted by his Cabinet colleagues, including Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari after the budget presentation.

However, no opposition leader came to greet him barring suspended BJD leader Baijayanta J Panda who also shook hands with the Prime Minister twice.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi was often seen engaged in small talk with Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath in the entire budget speech.

Gandhi, who came just after the proceedings commenced, left for a brief period but was back before the budget speech ended.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and other opposition leaders were also present during the budget presentation.

Chandrakant Khaire, MP of Shiv Sena which has announced that it would go solo in the 2019 Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, walked up to Jaitley and greeted him.

A number of Rajya Sabha MPs were also seen in the gallery meant for the members of the Upper House.

Among those present were Majeed Memon (NCP), Rajeev Chandrashekar (Independent), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Swapan Dasgupta (Nominated), D Raja (CPI), Vinay Sahrasabuddhe (BJP) and Parimal Nathwani (Independent).

Jaitely was the star attraction of the day. He was in his seat well before the House convened for the day. The Lok Sabha staff provided him with a lapel microphone.

Before the budget presentation, Jaitely also greeted BJP veteran LK Advani and shared a smile. Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath walked up to Jaitely and greeted him.

The treasury benches were almost packed but there were a few empty seats in the opposition benches.

As the Finance Minister kept speaking of the 2022 target for full implemention of several schemes, Kharge interrupted him saying whether Jaitley was reading the budget speeech for 2018-19 or 2022.

But an unperturbed Jaitley kept reading his speech, ignoring the opposition barbs.

However, when Jaitley was announcing the relief to Medium Small and Micro Enterprises, the opposition raised a hue and cry stating that concessions were being given to the corporates. Jaitley hit back asking, “Madam (Speaker), are they objecting to any concession to the MSMEs?”

BJP MP and cine star Shatrughan Sinha, who has been vociferous in his criticism of the Modi government, was seen patiently listening to the budget speech.

Sinha was also seen engaged in small talk with his party colleague from Bollywood Hema Malini, who was sitting in the fourth row but across the aisle.

Senior BJP leader L K Advani was seen in a very playful mood today. Dressed in navy blue safari and sporting a cap of the same colour, he entered the House five minutes before 11 AM when the proceedings began.

Jaitley was already sitting in his seat. As Advani walked up to occupy his seat, Jaitley greeted him. But oblivous to it, Advani was accepting greetings of senior BJP MP Shanta Kumarand Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan.

As Advani took his seat next to Jaitley, the veteran leader smiled and had a brief talk, while the finance minister was seeing dabbing the BJP’ veteran’s hands.

Several MPs, mostly from BJP, were seen in colourful and wide-ranging headgears. Urban Development and Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri wore a lavender turban matching his jacket while SAD’s Prem Singh Chandumajra and AAP’s Bhagwant Mann stuck to their regular saffron and yellow colours respectively.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Afairs Arjun Singh Meghwal wore a saffron and green pagdi while Sakshi Maharaj was in his regular saffron headgear.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 16:13 IST