New Delhi: Congress leader Sonia Gandhi sat alone in her designated front row bench in Parliament’s Central Hall during the president’s address on Tuesday as senior leaders of her party remained stuck in Srinagar due to bad weather, after attending an event to mark the culmination of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
However, a steady stream of leaders from across the aisle approached Sonia Gandhi and exchanged pleasantries.
Before the joint sitting began, BJP MPs were seen congratulating J P Nadda, whose term as party president was extended till June 2024, as he entered the Parliament building.
Gandhi, who is usually flanked by senior party colleagues, was also greeted by both President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was sitting near Sonia Gandhi, was also seen leaning and speaking to her.
Gandhi, however, was seen engaged in a conversation for around half an hour with TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien who was sitting a row behind her.
Incidentally, the TMC had earlier said the party had not been called to join the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra.
O’Brien and Gandhi were seen having a lengthy conversation before Murmu’s speech began.
Putting political rivalries aside, AIADMK leader M Thambi Durai and DMK’s TR Baalu were seen smiling and hugging each other while having a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the Economic Survey was presented and the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day, PM Modi also enquired from Chirag Paswan about his mother’s health.
In her first address to the joint sitting of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session, President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday said the country has a government that is “stable, fearless, decisive”, giving thrust to ‘virasat’ (heritage) as well as ‘vikas’ (development) and working for all classes without any discrimination.
Friendly vibes were visible among different party MPs during the joint sitting of Parliament.
A bench, which usually seats five people, was seen being shared by six MPs from three different parties — NCP’s Supriya Sule, DMK’s Kanimozhi, TMC’s Saugata Ray and BJP leaders, Neeraj Shekhar, Shivkumar Udasi and Nishikant Dubey.
During the speech, BJP MPs were seen thumping their desks frequently, which the opposition claimed they were instructed to do so.