Announce package before going to 'bigger house': SAD to Pranab

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, May 16: Utilising the speculation that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee could be the Presidential candidate, an Akali Dal member today urged him to announce a financial package for debt-ridden states like Punjab and West Bengal before moving to a "bigger house".

Raising the issue while participating in a debate on the Finance Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Naresh Gujral (SAD) said there is speculation that "you are likely to move to a bigger house very soon. I hope you will not forget to give a financial package for the states of West Bengal and Punjab."

A visibly humbled Mukherjee greeted Gujral with a smile and folded hands even as PJ Kurien, who was in the Chair, remarked: "You want to get rid of him as Finance Minister."

Gujral earlier said, "there is a lot of speculation of your announcing a financial package for your home state West Bengal, as recommended by the Finance Commission. I welcome it. You must do so. But, kindly do not forget Punjab and Kerala in the bargain."

While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is a part of the UPA, has been strongly asking for a financial package for her state, Punjab is following suit and asking for a similar package as recommended by the Finance Commission.

PTI

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