Ruling UPA goes euphoric over farmers' loan-waiver

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) The Lok Sabha today witnessed uproarious scenes with both treasury and opposition trying to outdo each other to claim credit for the unprecedented Rs 50,000-crore loan waiver for 5 crore farmers across the country.

As the ruling UPA members greeted the relief package by thumping the desks enthusiastically, the opposition challenged the announcement made by Finance Minister P Chidamabaram as a mere "eyewash".

Interestingly when uproar continued for ten minutes, Mr Chidambaram kept up a smiling face, while members of BJP, Shiv Sena and BJD kept on protesting forcing Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to observe whether the agitating members were showing their concern for farmers by creating din in the House.

The Left, however, confined themselves to thumping the desks and did not join the treasury in their euphoria over the loan-waiver.

At one stage, CPI(M) deputy leader Mohammed Salim was seen chiding the Opposition members but his remarks could not be heard in the din.

The basis of Opposition's vociferous protest could not be ascertained even as the Speaker directed that nothing said by them will go on record .

TDP member Y Naidu was, however, heard dubbing the loan-waiver an "eyewash".

But Mr Chidambaram's declaration that the Rs 50,000-crore relief package for farmers would be implemented by June this year silenced the Opposition. The package, he said, would benefit 3 crore of marginal and small farmers and another two crore of other farmers.

All through the proceedings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sporting his favourite sky blue turban with matching jacket, kept sitting with a straight and impassive face.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was, however, seen lending her support to the waiver by occasionally waving her endorsement with a subdued smile.

The House greeted with approval announcements made for raising the income tax slab and the honorarium of 'anganwari' workers.

Similarly, the announcement of largesse for women and child development was also received with applause in the House.

Rajya Sabha MPs M S Gill, D Raja, Murli Manohar Joshi, M S Swaminathan and Rahul Bajaj were seen taking notes of various announcements made by the Finance Minister while sitting in a gallery of the Lok Sabha.

Foreign dignitaries were also seen in the House galleries.

UNI KSA/SAA RP GC1305

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