Opposition parties lash out at rail budget’s ‘capitalist’ tilt | india | Hindustan Times
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Opposition parties lash out at rail budget’s ‘capitalist’ tilt

Opposition parties were highly critical of the railway budget presented by DV Sadananda Gowda, calling it “a budget of Ambanis and Adanis”. As soon as the railway minister announced the government’s decision to open up the railways to private and foreign investment, there were loud protests from the Opposition against its ‘capitalist’ tilt.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2014 11:02 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji

Opposition parties were highly critical of the railway budget presented by DV Sadananda Gowda, calling it “a budget of Ambanis and Adanis”. As soon as the railway minister announced the government’s decision to open up the railways to private and foreign investment, there were loud protests from the Opposition against its ‘capitalist’ tilt.

Gowda continued undeterred, signalling that he couldn’t present a populist Budget like his predecessors without hurting the sector. He said the railways would be funded by the surplus of public sector rail companies, foreign direct investment and public-private partnership.

“The government is heading more and more towards privatisation,” says Congress MP and former MoS, Railways, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. “Everything is being done to appease the capitalists.” Chowdhury, however, insisted that his party wasn’t against public-private partnership, only that it but didn’t want such partnerships everywhere.

Interestingly, the Budget brought the Trinamool Congress and arch rivals CPI(M) together on the floor of the House, as they protested the government’s decision to open up the sector.

There were mixed reactions from BJP’s outside supporters. While AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa commended the PM and the railway minister for “placing before the country the true status of Indian railways”, the BJD was critical of the emphasis on public-private partnership and complained that Odisha had not been given a fair deal.

PMK’s Ambumani Ramdoss, BJP’s partner in Tamil Nadu, was also vocal about his disappointment. “There’s nothing for Tamil Nadu,” he told HT. “I had met the railway minister with so many project proposals but he didn’t honour a single request.”