Opposition parties, including the BJP and CPI, on Wednesday slammed the Railway Budget terming it a mockery while the Congress said the budget is futuristic and reflects the concerns of the aam admi.
“Railway budget was a mockery. Railway Minister has converted the entire exercise into a comic opera. It’s a sad day for railway users and commuters. This budget has only Bengal, and all others are left kangal (poor),” senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters outside Parliament after presentation of the budget.
He alleged the budget had “nothing” and even those plans which were yet to get the Planning Commission’s nod have been been announced in the budget.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta described the budget as “an exercise of utter madness” and alleged there was politics in the budget, which was also over-ambitious and unrealistic.
“The budget has been made with a political bias keeping in mind the upcoming West Bengal elections. This is not the way Railway Minister of the country should present the Rail Budget,” Mr. Dasgupta said. His colleague D. Raja also found “political intentions” behind the budget and doubted whether the promise of starting so many new trains could be fulfilled.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, however, strongly backed Ms. Banerjee’s budget saying the budget was futuristic and a balancing act between immediate needs and long term plans.
Mr. Tewari also welcomed non-increase of passenger fares, saying, “From aam admi’s point of view there is no increase in passenger fare, which is most significant. It’s the second budget in the UPA, without any increase in passenger fare.”
Meanwhile, Samajawadi Party general secretary Mohan Singh alleged the Railway Minister had put old schemes in cold storage while announcing new schemes. “It’s a non-serious railway budget,” he said.
Supria Sule (NCP) also dismissed the Opposition charge that the budget was loaded in favour of West Bengal and welcomed it saying,”It will be unfair to say that she has favoured Bengal. She has tried her best to give every part of the country something.”
JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav alleged there was nothing in the budget for northern India. “The Rail Budget has nothing for northern India, no major north-bound trains have been announced. None of the pending projects have been completed. Several railway lines in northern India are metre-gauge, which should have been broad-gauged,” he said.
Cutting across party lines, several Opposition party leaders said many projects announced by the Railway Minister have not even been approved by the Planning Commission.