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Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004

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Mungeri Lal's dreams `come true'

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 3

WITH the `Mini-Budget' packages announced earlier, culminating in the presentation of the Interim Budget 2004-05 on Tuesday, the Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, has ingeniously managed to please all sections of the society, be it the India Inc, the small sector entrepreneurs, the rich and the middle-class, the farmers and the rural folk, as also the country's poor.

The section left out till today was the Central staff, and that section too, was adequately taken care of by the Minister in no small measure. And the beauty of the give-aways is that no one, not even the Opposition parties, has been able to term them as "populist."

The Finance Minister also appears to have an elephant's memory. While referring to the positive features in the Indian economy, the cut in expenditure, reining in the fiscal deficit to a level far beyond expectations, Mr Singh, all of a sudden, referred to Mungeri Lal. "Mungeri Lal ko bahut dhoonda, kahi nahi mile. Koi unko agar mile, to kaha dijiyega ki unke haseen sapne sakaar huwey." (I looked for Mungeri Lal, but could not get him anywhere. If somebody happens to meet him, he should be told that his dreams have come true.)

The reference to the dreaming protagonist of a TV serial was to Ms Sonia Gandhi's remark in one of the debates in the Lok Sabha some time ago that the NDA Government's programmes were like the dreams of Mungeri Lal.

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