Amid a bitter government-opposition face off, there was a glimpse of bonhomie in Rajya Sabha when finance minister Arun Jaitley and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood face to face.After entering the House to table the budget, Jaitley walked towards Singh’s seat. Seeing this, Singh went mid-way where both greeted each other and were seen engaged in an animated conversation for a few minutes.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, later Singh described the budget as a “mixed bag Budget” with no big idea.Earlier this year, Jaitley and Singh, an economist, had a standoff over stalling of Parliament, which was to take up GST. Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should reach out to Opposition, while Jaitley in a blog retaliated by saying he should advice his party that tariff was not provided for in the Constitution, referring to Congress stand on constitutional cap in GST.But, in Rajya Sabha on Monday, the leaders took a break from their belligerent mood. Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma exchanged pleasantries with Jaitley. Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who was in Congress earlier, went to Singh and greeted him. He also walked up to the seat of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, where both the leaders chatted briefly.In Lok Sabha earlier, durimg his budget speech, Jaitley made it a point to say that he had accepted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion to slash import duty on braille paper which will be included in the list of “assistive devices for the differently-abled”. Gandhi had written to the commerce ministry after a visually impaired college student approached him at Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, where he had addressed students last year.Gandhi had then written to the finance minister seeking tax exemption on braille paper. Congress MPs were happy that Jaitley mentioned the party vice-president while making the announcement on it.The government and the Congress are engaged in a bitter war of words in Parliament on issues like JNU, Rohith Vemula suicide and Ishrat Jehan .


Arun Jaitley-Manmohan Singh bonhomie in times of acrimony