Former Prime Minister and JD(S) chief H.D. Deve Gowda on Saturday flayed the steep hike in railway fares and freight charges, saying it was contrary to the Lok Sabha election campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat the price rise.

“In spite of the present Prime Minister fighting Lok Sabha elections on major issues including price rise, the Railway Minister has gone ahead with the announcement of increasing passenger fare hike, which will have many implications,” Mr. Gowda told reporters in Bangalore.

Stating that there was no need to make the announcement about the hike before the budget session of Parliament which would commence from July 7, Mr. Gowda said, “within 15 days, heavens would not have fallen.” It was also unnecessary on the part of the Railway Minister to put the onus on the previous UPA Government for taking the decision on the hike. He said the issue of hike and the need for more funds for Railways could have been discussed in Parliament.

On the controversy over Hindi in the wake of two circulars issued by the Union Home Ministry to promote its use in the social media, he blamed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for “raking” up an old emotive issue and diverting people’s attention from burning problems.

“Where is the need to create the problem and subsequently clear the air. The Home Minister is an experienced man. These are not the issues now. There are so many burning issues.

Why do you want to divert the attention of the people on these things and flare up emotions?” Mr. Gowda questioned.

On the Cauvery issue, Mr. Gowda said the major problem with Karnataka was that the parties here take up issues, not in one voice, but on the contrary AIADMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu come together on issues such as Cauvery.

“Therefore, I suggested in Delhi during the all-party meeting that at least we should speak in one voice. Let us not try to get political mileage. The elections are over. Now, at least you must realise how to protect the state’s interest,” he added.

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