You were full of praise for the railway budget today. For an Opposition member, was it not a bit odd?
There is nothing odd. I agree with many things in the budget. I gave specific examples of some during my speech. Of course, the government has to execute its promises and I mentioned that. It cannot earn praise just on the basis of promises.
What is it that you particularly liked about the railway budget?
The fact that it is trying to correct some fundamental problems. It is low on populism. It has tried to avoid the pitfalls that almost every railway minister used to fall into. This budget does not announce any new trains, for example.
You seemed to have placed a lot of faith in the railways minister.
That is because I know him well and know that he means well… He has his heart in the right place.
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Is there anything in the budget that you don’t agree with?
See, the budget is only a statement of intention. And no one ever says their intention is wrong. If you heard my speech, you would have noticed that I have only offered some advice on how to convert these intentions into action.
But won’t political meaning will be read into your speech? That the NCP is being soft on the government?
Only last week, I made a speech on the insurance bill and if you heard that, you would know the NCP is not being soft on anyone, neither the UPA nor the NDA. We believe in offering constructive opposition and that is what we have done. In fact, if you look at the party’s stand on several issues, you would realise we are the only ones being consistent. The NDA has changed its stand since when it was in opposition and the UPA has changed its stand after leaving the government. NCP is pro-development and pro-growth and our stand is guided by this.