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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Jul 2014

Uddhav attacks Modi govt over rail fare hike

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 23, 2014
First Published: 12:51 IST(23/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:58 IST(23/6/2014)

Reluctantly accepting the steep hike in railway fares and freight rates, the Shiv Sena urged the government this should be "the final increase".

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In a scathing editorial in Saamana, Shiv Sena has criticised has recent hike in rail fares announced by the BJP.

The government announced a steep 14.2% hike in rail fares from June 25. This move was made in a bid to revive the flailing railways economy. The hike is expected to bring nearly Rs. 6000 crores to the Railways.

The editorial says "Indian Railways has become a white elephant and is turning into a liability with every passing day. Modi does not possess a magic wand to set things right in 2-5 days." 

"Modi had promised 'achhe din' (good times) and bringing down the prices should have been the top priority. But now the common man is being made to bear the brunt for railway's amenities."

The steep, pre-budget hike of 14.2% in passenger fares has particularly hit the Mumbaikars hard as they will have to shell out more than double for monthly and quarterly season tickets.

Thackeray accused the BJP of 'running a train over the public' with this decision. He felt that this hike was brought on unneccessarily in the name of development.

"Had Congress done this during their regime, BJP would have said that the Congress should be shot with a cannon," Uddhav Thackeray said in the editorial.

It alleged that in the past 15-20 years, all the railway ministers simply looted it and those (railway ministers) hailing from Bihar gave it a "Yadavi" (clannish) tone.

The Shiv Sena said that if the same hike had been taken up by the Congress, the opposition would have bombarded it with criticisms and abuses.

Now, the same (opposition) is running the government with full majority and they should introspect on it (the abuses it hurled at the Congress in the past) and should dedicatedly work towards improving the railways.

"In the meantime, the people have condemned the hikes and hope that this will be the final... The people's expectations must be fulfilled," the edit said.

This rift will be more crucial as the Maharashtra Assmebly elections are set to take place in October. Shiv Sena is one of the oldest allies of BJP, and contributed 18 seats in NDA's tally of 340 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But, Modi offered them an insignificant minitry and Sena has been feeling marginalised since then.

Read: Uddhav for CM – Shiv Sena takes it slow

(With inputs from PTI)


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