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(Correcting para 5, line 2)

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) The members of the Left parties and the BJP-led Opposition today disrupted the Railway Budget speech of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad for about 25 minutes, protesting that their areas had been ignored while announcing new trains and facilities.

''Yeh Budget nahin, dokha hai (This Budget is an eyewash),'' the slogan-shouting BJP members said, with those from Gujarat and Rajasthan being more vociferous, as they trooped into the well of the House to protest to Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, who was conducting the proceedings in the absence of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

They said it was a pro-Bihar Budget even as Mr Lalu Prasad's children watched the proceedings from the visitors' gallery.

The Opposition members from the Northeast too came to the well before walking out in protest.

It was a peculiar situation with the Opposition, on one side, and the Left members, on the other, protesting in unison.

''Nayay do, nayay do (Give us justice),'' the Opposition shouted in the well.

They resumed their seats only after the intervention of Leader of the Opposition L K Advani.

They soon got up and started slogan-shouting. BJP Deputy Leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra at one point went up to the Left members, possibly to draw more support against the Budget.

The Left party members, especially Mr Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), flared up when Mr Prasad started announcing new facilities. They stood on their feet, protesting that West Bengal, especially Kolkata, had been ignored in East-West corridor and 'Garib Rath' facilities.

Even Left members from Kerala said their aspirations had not been met in the Budget.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram had to go to them thrice, apparently to give some assurances to calm them down.

The protest, which started around 1315 hrs when Mr Lalu Prasad had finished more than one hour of his speech, continued for about 25 minutes upto the end when Mr Atwal adjourned the House till 1530 hrs.


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