Congress and CPI(M) on Saturday took to the streets in the national capital protesting the “massive” rail fare hike and demanding its immediate rollback, saying the government’s decision will lead to rise in prices of essential commodities.
Scores of Congress workers led by party’s Delhi unit chief Arvinder Singh Lovely held a demonstration in Janakpuri area of West Delhi and clashed with police.
Police had to use water canon when the protesters tried to break barricades.
“It is a massive hike. How can they increase the fair just couple of weeks before the Budget Session of Parliament. People who used to talk about ‘achche din’ (good days) before the elections today are talking about bitter medicines,” Lovely said.
He said, “BJP had promised to curb inflation before elections but I doubt if it will happen. If they continue to take steps like this, then I am sure people of the country will punish the government. The government is failing at all fronts.”
Demanding that the government take back its decision, Lovely said besides hitting hard the passengers, the hike will lead to higher inflation as the freight rates have been increased by 6.5 per cent.
He threatened that the party will launch a ‘rail roko’ agitation if the decision is not rescinded.
Separately, the Delhi unit of CPI(M) also staged a protest outside the Rail Bhawan. “Before coming to power, BJP criticised plans and policies of other parties and won the trust of the citizens by promising to provide relief to people from price hike. But now they are doing the same,” said Anurag Saxena, member of CPI(M) Delhi.
He said that BJP did not give a chance to other parties to keep forth their views and declared the hike before the Budget Session.
“They are using UPA only as an excuse. The previous government has gone now, BJP needs to fulfil the promises they had made rather than making UPA a scapegoat,” said Saxena.
The protests resulted in major traffic jams in Central Delhi.
Lovely said Congress was not holding the protest, considering the possibility of Assembly polls in Delhi as suggested by some BJP leaders.
“We do not even know whether assembly elections in Delhi will be held soon or not,” he said, replying to a question. In one of the biggest hikes, railways yesterday raised passenger fares by 14.2 per cent for all classes and increased freight rates by 6.5 per cent to garner Rs 8000 crore annually.