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'Not a rail budget but Rae Bareli budget'

BT Online Bureau     February 26, 2013
The Opposition on Tuesday slammed the Rail Budget for increasing the burden on the common man, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) terming it as "pedestrian" and "discriminatory" while Left said it does not give any hope on railways' future.

Key outside United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too were unhappy saying it was anti-poor and ignored areas of Uttar Pradesh which need rail infrastructure for economic development.

BJP leader Gopinath Munde said it was more of a 'Rae Bareli budget', claiming it has favoured Sonia Gandhi's constituency while SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said it was a "budget for the Congress".

"This is not rail budget but Rae Bareli budget. This budget has not been prepared keeping in mind the whole country and this is the reason one could see an attempt to disrupt the budget presentation due to unrest among the MPs," Munde, who Deputy Leader of BJP, told reporters outside Parliament.

Former Finance Minister and MP Yashwant Sinha described the Railway budget as "very, very pedestrian" and a "political budget" aimed at the forthcoming general elections.

"The rail minister acknowledged that railway finances were not properly handled during the previous years which led to the present situation. The PM was listening. This PM had earlier said that the Budget is good, this year also he is saying the same thing irrespective of who the rail minister is," Sinha said.

He alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible for the poor financial condition of railways.

BSP supremo Mayawati said the rail budget was a "disappointment".

"The poor and middle classes will not benefit much from it.... Fare has been hiked through backdoor," she said, a charge echoed by the Left parties which claimed that the Rail Minister had camouflaged the hike.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the budget will have cascading effect on prices and "none of its plans are likely to fructify".

He added: "No new schemes have been announced. And the minister has not indicated how the old schemes will be implemented. No direction has been given towards modernisation of the railways, which is the need of the hour."

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who is also the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said, "This budget is off the rails. There is no hope for any improvement in the functioning of the railways. There is too much dependency on budgetary support, which is a chimera."

Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Prakash Jawadekar, "This is not a rail budget. This is a Rae Bareli budget... There is a need for big reforms in the railways but Pawan Bansal seems to be betting more only on PPPs (public private partnerships). In the last ten years there has not been even a single PPP success story in the railways. The railways needs to first change its mindset and bring in administrative structural reforms. Only then can you think of any success coming out of PPPs."  (With PTI inputs)

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