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Young MPs impress Pranab
Published on 15 Jul. 2009 12:23 AM IST
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First-time MPs impressed veteran Congressman and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with their averments while participating in the debate on the general budget in the Lok Sabha on Monday. He was happy that as many as 94 members spoke since the debate on the budget began last week and that the first-timers spiritedly participated in the discussions. "They may be first-timers, but their observations, criticism and analysis were mature," Mukherjee said, while replying to the debate on Tuesday. The Congress' "man for all seasons" said that from the manner in which his "young colleagues" had spoken, "the Indian parliament is entering a new phase". Praful Patel has predecessor on the back foot It must be said of Praful Patel, the minister of state for civil aviation, that he is pretty passionate about turning around flag carrier Air India that has been posting increasing losses for the past two year. Any criticism of the airline has the erudite Patel in full flow and during the course of this in the Rajya Sabha, he comprehensively trapped his predecessor, Rajiv Pratap Rudy on the back foot. "When we came to power in 2004, we were clear we must protect Air India. We wanted Air India to continue in the public sector. The (previous) NDA (National Democratic Alliance) had taken the decision to privatise the airline," Patel said, but Rudy cut him short. "That is not correct," Rudy maintained. "Arre baba, shall I show you the public tender that was floated? It fell through after the lone bidder, Tata/Singapore Airlines, withdrew. We then withdrew the divestment process," Patel pointed. Rudy was left speechless! Cong-BJP comrades in arms? It was almost like treasury-opposition "bhai-bhai" in the Lok Sabha Tuesday. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was all praise for Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had last week initiated the debate on the general budget. "I appreciate Murli Manohar Joshi for his constructive approach," the finance minister said, hoping that "his party will continue to extend its cooperation" to the government. Joshi was all smiles, while veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, seated close by, looked on expressionless. Sharad now targets TV soaps Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) was one of those in the forefront in opposing the legislation to reserve 33 percent of the seats in parliament and the legislatures for women. Now, he has found something new to target: TV soaps like "Balika Vadhu". "Child marriage is banned in the country but 'Balika Vadhu' is promoting child marriage. It should be taken off the air," Yadav maintained in the Lok Sabha. This cut no ice with Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni. "I can not reply on what each and every single channel airs," she snapped. This raised the hackles of the Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav, another opponent of the women's quota bill, who demanded Soni give a proper reply. "I will send a reply to him (Sharad Yadav)," Soni then said.

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