Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s glory lasted just 15 minutes as raucous Lok Sabha members forced him to cut short his maiden rail budget speech Wednesday. However, despite the ruckus and the fact that his was just an interim rail budget, Kharge did offer something. Travellers have been spared a fare hike. He promised 72 trains, including 17 premium trains — titled Jai Hind — and 10 passenger trains.
As for the State, Kharge promised double decker express trains on Kacheguda-Tirupati and Kacheguda-Guntur routes. Both the trains have been allocated to the SCR for the first time. Of the 15 express trains sanctioned to the SCR, eight either originate or pass through the twin cities. He also increased the frequency of three express trains — Vijayawada-Hubli, Bidar-Yesvantpur and Secunderabad-Hubli — from three days a week to daily. Baring these ‘gifts’, his debut will be remembered for the chaotic scenes.
Not only did MPs opposed to T bill create a ruckus, in an unprecedented step, four Union ministers were in the well of the House holding placards as he read his speech. Chiranjeevi, K S Rao, Purandeswari, and K Surya Prakash Reddy were in the Well, while Pallam Raju and Kruparani supported them. The lowest point came when MPs tore papers, one climbed a chair, and two MPs, M Jagannadham and Sivaprasad, one from Telangana, the other from Seemandhra, almost came to blows.