Keen to ensure that the Congress-led UPA does not derive any political advantage from new announcements in the run-up to elections, opposition parties have slammed the interim rail budget.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, deputy leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, told HT, "It is an ad-hoc budget of a government on the verge of political departure." He added, mockingly, "What a coincidence that a 300 crore scam has been discovered by the CAG in the railways on the day of the budget. This reflects the manner in which this government has run the country."
Regional satraps were not happy either.
Tamil Nadu chief minister, J Jayalalithaa, highlighted what she saw as the skewed regional priorities. "There is nothing in the railway budget for the people of Tamil Nadu to cheer about…Very few new train connections have been announced for Tamil Nadu. Most of the new benefits are confined to the northern parts of the country and this highlights the UPA's step-motherly treatment of the South and Tamil Nadu in particular." She however said that the main budget, to be presented by the new government in June, would reflect the aspirations of the people of the state.
Former railways minister and Trinamool Congress leader, Mukul Roy, called the budget a 'sham' and said the outgoing government had no right to frame policies or place budgets. "They have given false hopes and made promises they have no right to make. They have done this only to confuse, cheat and make fun of the people of the country." He argued that his party leader, Mamata Banerjee, as railways minister during the early years of UPA-2, had initiated new projects.
(With agency inputs)