Budget 2021

E Ahamed’s death loomed over Budget presentation

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018

Indian Union Muslim League President and Lok Sabha MP E Ahamed, who was Minister of State for External Affairs in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet, had fainted during the President’s address on Tuesday. He was rushed to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where he breathed his last in the early hours of Wednesday   -  PTI

The morning of February 1, a historic date, as for the first time in Independent India, the Union Budget had been advanced against the usual February 28, began on an edgy note.

Following the death of sitting member from Kerala, E Ahamed, on Tuesday, there was confusion over whether the Lok Sabha Speaker would go with tradition and put off the Budget presentation, or would stick to constitutional norms and proceed with the Budget after an obituary reference.

The media, which has big plans for B-day in terms of news and advertisements, was in a tizzy, awaiting a final decision by the Speaker. The Opposition parties, anyway unhappy due the advancement of date in the face of Assembly elections, were seeking a postponement.

However, things became a bit clear when the Budget papers started arriving in Parliament. And, soon, it was official that the Budget presentation would go ahead as announced when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted: "Watch me live presenting the Union Budget 2017 at 11 am, February 1, 2017.”

So, when the Lok Sabha assembled, the mood was sombre. The Speaker Sumitra Mahajan cited constitutional obligations after the President’s go-ahead as “today’s sitting has been specifically fixed,” and announced that as a mark of respect to Ahamed, the House will not sit on Thursday.

This created a furore, with the Opposition, led by the Congress, accusing the Treasury benches of “insensitivity” by thumping on their desks after the Speaker’s announcement.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge criticised the government for proceeding with the presentation of the Union Budget, and demanded that the House be adjourned as a mark of respect to Ahamed, who had been a member of the legislature for 45 years and had “collapsed” while on duty. Earlier, Kharge had alleged that the government had delayed the announcement of Ahamed’s death, as it did not want to postpone the Budget.

However, the moment Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rose to present the Budget, CPI(M) MPs walked out in protest.

Ahamed, President of the Indian Union Muslim League and a former Minister of State for External Affairs in the UPA Cabinet, had collapsed in the Central Hall of Parliament on Tuesday during the President’s speech and was rushed to hospital. His was declared dead at 2.15 am.

Published on February 01, 2017

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