With the BJP-led union government’s decision to hike rail fares coming under attack from various quarters, the Congress and ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Monday attempted to capitalise on the controversy.
The Maharashtra unit of the Congress took to the streets in protest with senior Congress leaders joining hands with party workers to travel ticketless along the Central railway route in Mumbai after holding demonstrations at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The party termed the act of breaking the law through ticketless travel as “civil disobedience”.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre spearheaded the protest, which also witnessed participation of two Maharashtra cabinet minister Naseem Khan and Varsha Gaikwad, Rajya Sabha member Hussain Dalwai, former MP Eknath Gaikwad, several corporators and legislators.
Keen not to be left behind in protests over the fare hike, the NCP appealed to the general public and its own workers to travel without valid tickets if the centre did not roll back the hike before June 25. The revised fares will be effective from that day. Sources said that both parties are keen to regain confidence of masses and enthuse their cadre to revive fortunes ahead of the crucial state assembly polls in October. The Congress, NCP combine in Maharashtra suffered a crushing defeat during LS polls in Maharashtra.
Thakre cautioned that the Congress will resort to statewide agitation from June 25 on the issue. To reach out to masses, the party has plans to launch a signature campaign over the issue too.
Earlier, MPCC delegation lead by Manikrao Thakre met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan asking him to ensure 24 hours power supply in state and availability of seeds and fertilizers to farmers.