Mamata's couplets win Opposition's hearts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 25, 2011

Ms Mamata Banerjee   -  Business Line

It was the poetic words and not the new schemes of Ms Mamata Banerjee, Railway Minister, which quelled the angry Opposition during the presentation of the Railway Budget 2011-12.

This was Ms Banerjee's third Budget speech and as usual she faced vociferous protests from Parliamentary members of Bihar, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh who alleged that she ignored their States. The members interrupted the Rail Minister about the status of the projects announced last year causing the Minister to lose her composure. Allegations also included that Ms Banerjee was preparing for the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal as a bulk of her schemes and projects were for the State.

The Minister was visibly disturbed but kept to her task of presenting the Budget. She decided to skip her colourful couplets and went about announcing sops for the defence personnel.

But eventually, after a gentle prod from Ms Meira Kumar, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, to continue on her poetic note, Mamatadi managed a smile. “Don't miss the beautiful couplets,” said the Speaker.

Ms Banerjee smiled and said, “I will first read the couplet.”

Then in her heavily accented Hindi, she started rendering the lyrics of Lata Mangeshkar's famous song — “ Ae mere watan ke logon” (Oh my countrymen!), “ Koi Sikh, koi Jaat, Maraatha, koi Gurakha, koi Madaraasi, sarahad pe marane vaala har veer tha Bhaaratavaasi (Some Sikhs, Jaats, Marathis, Gurkhas, Madrasis, all who fought on the border were Indians).”

Jab ghayal hua Himaalay, khatre mein padi azadi, jab tak thi saans lade vo phir apni laash bichha di (When the Himalayas were in danger, they fought till they died),” Ms Banerjee added, with no intention to cut short on poetry after getting the blessings of the Speaker.

But it turned out to be useful, as the Opposition finally stopped the disruptions and listened intently to the poetic Minister.

The next couplet from Mamatadi, perhaps summed up her thoughts about the Opposition. “ Hum aah bhi bharte hai to ho jaate hai badnaam, woh katl bhi karte hai to charcha nahi hoti (Even a sigh from me invites a bad name while even if they commit a murder it is not discussed),” she recited.

Meanwhile, led by Mr Rahul Gandhi, Congress' young turks including Mr Sachin Pilot, Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mr Jitin Prasada, Mr Deependra Singh Hooda, Ms Priya Dutt and Mr Milind Deora, sat in one corner of the House, observing a thoroughly entertaining presentation of the Railway Budget.

Published on February 25, 2011

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