Few MPs protested for not being consulted while drafting proposals

Several notable figures were not present when Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi presented his maiden Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The entire Shiromani Akali Dal group was missing obviously to be present at the swearing-in ceremony of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal in Chandigarh.

Similarly, Chief Minister-designate Akhilesh Yadav, who will be taking the oath of office as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, too, was not present. His father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh was attending to political matters elsewhere.

Sonia, Advani absent

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani skipped the Budget presentation.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had discarded his rustic look — with the elections being over and was his old suave self with a clean shave.

The public galleries were vacated at 1 p.m. as a matter of custom, though Mr. Trivedi's speech extended at least 45 minutes beyond that. The galleries were empty during the latter part of his speech.

Though there were not many interruptions, members protested that they were consulted by the minister while drafting the proposals. They were also upset that Mr. Trivedi did not read out the proposed new trains or rail lines, which he had listed in the annexure appended to his speech.

When a glass of water was placed on his table, the members urged him to have a sip. “There is no need for me to drink water when you people are there (as morale booster),” Mr. Trivedi quipped.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad was among those who protested against the minister for raising freight rates ahead of the general budget and not giving anything for Bihar.

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