Sitharaman stops towards the end of her Budget speech, longest so far
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 readout. Her Budget speech of 2020-21 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the front row bench was seen advising her to stop her speech. Her Cabinet colleague Harsimrat Kaur Badal rushed to the Finance Minister and was seen advising her to take rest. 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 readout.