Geete raises farmers' suicide issue before President

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (UNI) Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete today raised the issues of the agrarian crisis and farmers' suicides just as President Pratibha Devisingh Patil finished her address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget Session.

As soon as the President finished her address, Mr Geete, sitting in the second row from the front, got up and began shouting, ''there is no reference (in the President's Address) to the agricultural crisis that has driven thousands of farmers to commit suicide. How can a problem of such a magnitude be ignored by the government.'' The sole protestor was not joined by any other member, not even his party colleagues.

He sat down after raising an uproar for around two minutes before the President made a ceremonial exit from the Central Hall escorted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

The members of both Treasury and Opposition benches sat silently during the 50-minute Address. There was thumping of desks thrice by MPs from the Treasury benches when the President made a reference to the induction of the BrahMos Missile System which she described as a major milestone in the upgradation of the country's defence technology.

There was thumping of desks again when she mentioned late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's Action Plan for Nuclear Disarmament and on the reference to Dr Singh's visit to the 2nd IBSA Summit at Pretoria and New Delhi's proposal to host the first India-Africa Forum Summit in April.

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