Sonia praises Pranab’s budgetMay 9th, 2012 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Amid speculation that he is a front-runner for the presidential polls, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Wednesday made a mention of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in her address to Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) and lavishly praised the budget for 2012-13 presented by him.
Gandhi told a meeting of Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) that the budget had renewed the government’s priority for faster and inclusive growth.
“The recent budget renews our priority for faster and inclusive growth. Pranabji has already responded to the debate of the budget and the finance bill,” Gandhi said.
She said despite tough fiscal situation, the budget has increased allocations for key social programmes such as rural drinking water, sanitation and rural roads.
“It has increased the outlay for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana substantially and has provided vastly enhanced resources for boosting paddy production in eastern India. Pensions for widows and the disabled have also been increased. Assistance to poor families who lose their primary bread winner has been doubled. The outlay for women and child development schemes have been increased significantly,” she said.
Gandhi had also addressed Mukherjee at the beginning of her speech.
“Prime minister, Pranabji, Dr Karan Singhji, fellow MPs…” Gandhi said the beginning of her address to the gathering of party MPs. Incidentally, Karan Singh has been an aspirant to the post of president.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader (BJP) Yashwant Sinha had Tuesday offered Mukherjee luck in his “future assignment” but the party later clarified that Sinha’s remarks should not be seen as backing Mukherjee for the post of president.
Sinha had said during his speech on the finance bill that after the session the finance minister may be moving to a “bigger house” in the capital and added that he had great regard for the finance minister.
Names of Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari have been doing the rounds as probable presidential candidates of the Congress.
Congress leadership had consulted its allies including Nationalist Congress Party, DMK and Trinamool Congress for presidential polls. Though the allies stated that no names had been formally discussed, some of their leaders sounded enthusiastic about candidature of Mukherjee in their formal and informal replies to questions from mediapersons.
A Congress leader had told IANS last week that Mukherjee had emerged as a front runner.
However, party leaders have not ruled out a dark horse emerging as a candidate closer to the polls.
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Tags: address to congress, bread winner, congress chief, doing the rounds, eastern india, finance bill, finance minister, fiscal situation, hamid ansari, karan singh, parliamentary party, poor families, pranab mukherjee, presidential polls, rural roads, sinha, social programmes, sonia gandhi, water sanitation, yojana