The Congress on Wednesday hailed the Railway budget saying the party in particular welcomes Mamata Banerjee’s decision not to increase passenger fares.

“We welcome the Railway budget. In this seventh successive railway budget under UPA I and UPA II, there has been no hike in passenger fares or even in freight. Both the UPA governments need to be congratulated for that,” party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told reporters here.

He also appreciated Ms. Banerjee for emphasising on social sectors in her budget.

Asked whether the party was distancing itself from the white paper issued by Ms. Banerjee during the first budget of UPA II, which was seen as snubbing the high success claims of the UPA I’s Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Mr. Ahmed said, “We have only welcomed the non-increase of fare during UPA I and UPA II. The inside statistics can be explained only by the minister and the former minister.”

Mr. Ahmed evaded a direct reply when asked whether Ms. Banerjee has ignored a missive by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Committee, which reportedly advised for a hike in passenger fare. “What transpired between the PMO and the minister concerned is a matter between them,” he said.

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