Union finance minister Arun Jaitley mixed poetry with hard-nosed business sense as he presented the Budget for 2017-18, maintaining a tradition that has seen Parliament reverberate with sublime verses over the years.
“Iss mod par na ghabra kar tham jaaiye aap, Jo baat nayi hai usay apnaaiye aap (Don’t get nervous and stop at this juncture),” Jailtey said as he laid the government’s vision for a India that is less reliant on cash.
“Darte hain nayi raah pe kyun chalne se, Hum aage aage chalte hain aaiye aap… (Why are you afraid of this new road, I am leading the way, come with me)”, he added in his remarks which appeared to be aimed at opposition parties which had criticised the demonetisation move.
Jaitley’s poetic turn received thunderous applause from members of the ruling alliance.
His speech, in fact, revolved around the government’s November 8 announcement recalling high-value banknotes which the Narendra Modi government had billed as a surgical strike on illicit cash and counterfeiting.
“Nai duniya hai, naya daur hai, nayi hai umang. Kuch the pehle ke tareeke, to kuch hai aaj ke rang dhang… (It’s a new world, new order, new zeal,” Jaitley said.
“Roshni jo ye nikal ayi hai, kale dhan ko bhi badalna pada apna rang (The light that has emerged has forced even the black money to change its colour),” he added.
However, it is not the first time Jaitley made poetic injunctions as he had used a few lines from different poems during his budget speech last year.
Over the years, several former finance and railway ministers had interspersed their budget speeches with Hindi poetry and Urdu shayari, much to the amusement of the parliamentarians and people from across the country tuning in live on radio and TV.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram frequently quoted from Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar, whom he considered his muse.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, however, said Jaitley’s budget speech offered nothing except “shero-shayari”.