Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman beats Jaswant Singh, Arun Jaitley; delivers longest Budget speech in 70 years; later feels unwell, stops Budget speech towards end
Is it that finance ministers from the BJP camp are known to deliver long Budget speeches? Well seems so.
On Saturday, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman went on for 2 hours 43 minutes before she had to stop as she was reportedly not feeling well. Delivering her maiden Budget speech last year, Sitharaman, the former defence and commerce minister spoke for 2 hours 17 minutes (improving her own record this time).
It is for the first time ever that a finance minister had to cut short the Budget speech.
The finance minister was seen wiping her face and looked tired as she stood for over two and a half hours without even having a sip of water as she presented the Budget for financial year 2020-21.
Her blood pressure reportedly fell and she was advised to sit. Colleagues appeared to offer her candy. Union minister Harsimrat Kaur was seen giving her a glass of water. Defence minister Rajnath Singh too was seen trying to convince her to sit down in the middle of the speech.
Sitharaman’s speech had 13,275 words and ran into 43 pages, 145 paragraphs.
Till Sitharaman came in last year, former finance minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh held the record for the longest Budget speech in Parliament. In 2003, Jaswant Singh spoke for 2 hours and 13 minutes.
Sitharaman's predecessor late Arun Jaitley was also known for his lengthy budget speeches. In 2018, presenting his fifth Union Budget, Jaitley spoke for 1 hour 49 minutes; 1 hour 50 minutes in 2017. Earlier in 2015, Jaitley had spoken for more than 2 hours.