West Bengal’s Left slams rail budget, opposition praises it

Friday, February 25, 2011

KOLKATA - With Mamata Banerjee, chief of West Bengal’s main opposition Trinamool Congress, Friday presenting the last railway budget ahead of the state assembly polls — now just months away, political parties in the state were either effusive in their praise or sharply critical of it.

The ruling Left Front slammed the Railway Budget as ‘rudderless’ and “an exercise in deception”, and said it has been made with an eye on the impending assembly polls.

“It is a political budget full of lies. She wants to acquire political mileage before assembly polls. It is unfortunate that a person standing inside parliament utters such lies. This budget will also have the same fate as the other rail budgets,” said Left Front chairman Biman Bose.

Although Bose criticised the budget as full of lies and gimmicks, he welcomed Banerjee’s decision of not hiking passenger fares.

Sparing the passenger and industry from fare and freight hikes yet again, Banerjee Friday presented the rail budget for 2011-12 with the highest investment of Rs.57,630 crore ($12.7 billion), 68 new trains and a vow to build a stronger railroad infrastructure based on the Vision 2020 document.

The other Left Front partners also lashed out at Banerjee’s budget.

“This rail budget is completely rudderless and directionless. Most of the announcements which she had earlier made have progressed only up to stone laying ceremonies. What happened to those projects,” Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) leader Manoj Bhattacharjee said.

“This budget is not only directionless but also full of gimmicks,” All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) general secretary Debabrata Biswas said.

“I have seen many dramas in my life. Today in the guise of the rail budget I have seen one more. She has given metro rail to whole of Bengal. I am waiting when metro rail will start from North Bengal,” said a sarcastic Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar.

However, leaders of Trinamool Congress and Congress called it pro-people and historic.

“In one word, this rail budget is historic,” said former city mayor and Trinamool heavyweight Subrata Mukherjee.

“It is a very good budget. It is a pro-people and pro-passenger rail budget. I am very happy,” said state Congress president Manas Bhuniya.

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