New Delhi: The first day of the Budget Session of Parliament began on a warm note in Rajya Sabha with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exchanging pleasantries with the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley as well as members from other opposition parties and UPA allies.
As soon as Singh arrived in the House after the President's Address to the joint sitting of Parliament, leaders from various parties greeted him.
Apart from Jaitley, BJP leaders S S Ahluwalia and Balbir Punj, JD-U members Shivanand Tewari and N K Singh walked up to the Prime Minister to shake hands with him. The Prime Minister also waved at Opposition members.
Defence Minister A K Antony walked up to the Opposition benches and chatted with leaders of BJP, Left, SP and BSP. The Prime Minister was also seen interacting with CPI leader D Raja minutes before the House was called to order.
A copy of the President's address was laid on the table of the House.
Ansari made obituary references to four former members - Rameshwar Singh, Kartar Singh Duggal, Ashwini Kumar and Bibudhendra Mishra.
Singh had represented the House from April 1978 to April 1984 from UP and Duggal, an author of repute, was a nominated member of the House from August 1997 to August 2003.
Kumar represented Bihar in Rajya Sabha for two terms from 1980 to 1992. Mishra was a member of the House from Orissa from April 1958 to February 1962. He was also a member of Lok Sabha and had served as Union Minister in various capacities from 1962 to 1967.
Ansari also expressed solidairty with people of Phillipines, who suffered a massive earthquake on February 6 in which 69 persons lost their lives.
Ansari conveyed "heartfelt smpathy" of the Upper House on the death of 19 Army personnel in two avalanche incidents in Gurez and Sonemarg sectors of Jammu and Kashmir on February 22.