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Treasury bench thumps most to Rafale, 'surgical strike' as President addresses Parliament

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The mention of the 'surgical strike' and inclusion of fifth-generation fighter-jet Rafale in the Air Force saw most thumping of desks by treasury bench members during President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the joint-sitting of Parliament.
As the President mentioned Rafale, the members, mostly belonging to the BJP, continued to thump the desk for a good few seconds. The opposition, mainly the Congress, has been accusing the government of irregularities in the deal, a charge which it has rubbished.
Members of Parliament usually thump desks to appreciate a point.
The President's address to both the Houses usually takes place on the first day of the first session of the year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, BJP president Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, BJP veteran L K Advani, former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai and Vice-Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh occupied the front benches.
Ministers Harsimrat Kaur, Anant Geete, Prakash Javadekar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Smriti Irani, Harsh Vardhan, Radha Mohan Singh, Biren Singh, Thawarchand Gehlot also occupied the front row.
NCP President Sharad Pawar and Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav were seen sitting behind the row Modi and Rajnath Singh had occupied.
Dressed in his trademark jacket, Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrived a few minutes before the joint-sitting commenced. He greeted Manmohan Singh, Gowda, Kharge and Advani. He was seated on the same bench as Kharge.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was not seen in the joint-sitting.
Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader, was seen sitting in the last row.
Draped in a golden saree, Swaraj arrived in the Central Hall a few minutes before the joint session commenced. She walked up to the benches where Manmohan Singh, Gowda, Advani were seated.
Later she also greeted BJP president Amit Shah and Gadkari. She occupied the front row and was seen sitting beside the BJP chief.
After his speech, Kovind greeted members sitting in the first row, comprising leaders from both the ruling party and the opposition.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 4:40 PM IST

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