The Railway Budget will be presented in barely a week from now and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come up with a novel way to make the right kind of noises to woo Mumbaiites.
The party along with the Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh and with other suburban railway commuters associations organised a public conference to publish a memorandum about the association’s demands on Wednesday in Dadar to support the cause of rail commuters.
Raj Purohit, party’s Mumbai president, who attended the conference, said, “Issues bothering railway commuters are our top priority. We have written many letters to the Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee but there was no reply from her. It is high time to make our voice heard in Parliament.” Party senior leader and Member of Parliament Gopinath Munde, however, was conspicuous by his absence at the meeting.
Keeping the common man happy will help the party reap rich political dividends and with the municipal election due next year, this makes political sense too.
It has thus begun necessary legwork to keep its vote-bank happy — first Dalits and now rail commuters. The alliance — BJP and Shiv Sena — has been power in Mumbai civic body for over a decade and anti-incumbency factor may ruin its chances to coming to power once again.
Purohit also asked the Pravasi Sangh to agitate and protest against the injustices caused by the railway administration.
“More than 4,000 lose their lives every year in accidents on railway tracks and those who meet with accidents do not get medical aid instantly. We will raise these issues in Parliament,” said Purohit.
The Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh president Madhu Kotian, meanwhile, raised most of the issues pertaining to the Central Railways and its administration’s failure to provide basic services to commuters.
“There are no clean toilets, no water supply on the stations. The Central Railway has not built a single railway over-bridge last year. We are not aware where the administration spends its money. Things should change for good in the coming financial year,” said Kotian.