Arch rivals Trinamool Congress and CPI-M on Friday clashed in Rajya Sabha over bifurcation of Eastern Railway with both parties prodding each other to move a resolution for re-merger of separated Dhanbad and Mugalsarai divisions.
To a question by Moinul Hasan, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said decision to bifurcate Eastern Railway, taken by the then NDA government in 2002-03, has seen the division lose on operating parameters.
She said her party had then opposed the move and if the Left parties had done the same, the bifurcation would not have taken place.
"I would be very happy (if Dhanbad and Mugalsarai are re-merged with Eastern Railway," she said. "You (CPI-M) should move a resolution, I will support it."
Sitaram Yechuri (CPI-M) then said his party had in 2002-03 opposed the bifurcation of Eastern Railway, a statement that was strongly opposed by Banerjee. "No you did not," she said.
Yechuri asked the Railway Minister if she could give an assurance to the House that there would be no further bifurcation of railway divisions on state lines so that the pan-India character of the nation's largest employer is maintained.
The Railway Minister was, however, not forthcoming on the issue and said "it is a politically motivated question. This is a very touchy issue. I cannot play with fire," she said.
Yechuri insisted that his was not a political question and wanted a categorical assurance for no further bifurcations. He asked the Railway Minister to bring a resolution for merging Dhanbad and Mugalsarai with Eastern Railway and said he party will support such motion.
"Don't ask me questions that are politically motivated," Banerjee said. "If you seriously want (Dhanbad and Mugalsarai to be merged with Eastern Railway), please bring a motion, I will support it," he said.
Replying to supplementaries, Banerjee said of the 16 railway zones, only half were generating good revenues.