New Delhi, Feb. 1 : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting her second Budget in the Lok Sabha on Saturday had to stop abruptly with two more pages yet to be read out. Her Budget speech was the longest so far, continuing for two hours and 40 minutes but had to stop as she felt unwell while hurtling towards the conclusion. She sought permission of the Speaker Om Birla to take the remaining part of her Budget speech as having read.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who was seated next to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari were seen advising her to stop her speech and lay it on the table of the House. Her Cabinet colleague Harsimrat Kaur Badal rushed to her and was seen offering her throat soothers. Ms. Sitharaman appeared to be feeling uneasy and perspiring. After introducing the Finance Bill 2020-21, Ms. Sitharaman took her seat and the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day. Last year, Ms. Sitharaman's speech had lasted for nearly two hours, 17 minutes. Both the treasury and the opposition benches were packed.
Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav were not present in the Lok Sabha. On at least half a dozen occasions during the Budget speech, Opposition members raised their voices in protest when references to security, happiness and ease of living came as well as when a reference to Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao was being read out. (UNI)