Lalu Prasad begins presenting his fifth rail budget

February 26th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Railway Minister Lalu Prasad began presenting his fifth budget for his ministry in the Lok Sabha at noon Tuesday amid initial protests by opposition members from Karnataka over some remarks by the minister earlier. “I have made a prime minister from Karnataka,” the minister said amid laughter, referring to the support he gave to H.D. Deve Gowda in forming a government.

Dressed in a cream-coloured sleeveless sweater and his trademark white kurta pyjama, Lalu Prasad then began reading what is his last full rail budget speech for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

He said the turnaround of the Indian Railways was due largely to the efforts of its 1.4 million employees. “Everybody is appreciating that I have done tremendous work,” he said in English.

With elections due in a series of states and general elections due in a year’s time, expectations were once again high for a people-friendly rail budget, which had been Lalu Prasad’s mantra on the previous four occasions.

“This budget will mark the beginning of our vision for Indian Railways over the next 25 years. We will take Indian Railways to new heights - make it the world’s best,” Lalu Prasad had said a few hours before his scheduled speech.

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