BJP fears hike will end its dreams of ruling state
Buoyed by the party’s stupendous performance in the Lok Sabha polls, the Maharashtra unit of the BJP was all but certain that it would ride the Narendra Modi wave to power in the state as well. The railway fare hike, however, has brought their dreams crashing down.
BJP MP Gopal Shetty was seen often at railway stations, measuring the height between the platform and local trains. His sudden absence after the hike has not gone unnoticed
“There’s anger among the people and some are feeling cheated. They voted for us so that inflation would reduce, but now things have become worse. One has to spend nearly Rs 24,000 for a year’s local train travel. The fare has to be brought down, or else things will be bad for the party and the alliance in the assembly polls,” said a senior BJP leader.
Little wonder, then, that all the party MPs from Mumbai making a beeline to Delhi along with Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, Vinod Tawde, to meet the railway minister and other concerned people to get them to reduce the hike.
Even Gopal Shetty, the recently elected MP from North Mumbai, says that nothing can justify the hike, especially the two-fold increase in the cost of season passes. Shetty adds, however, that he is sure the railway minister will pay heed to his calls for some reduction.
“I am meeting the minister on Tuesday in Delhi and I will try to present our case. I know we have to run the railways and give good facilities to Mumbaikars, for which money is needed, but this fare hike cannot be justified by anyone,” said Shetty.
There has been talk that Shetty, who was seen frequently on local train platforms, measuring the distance between the trains and the platform, had disappeared after the rail fare hike.
When we asked him about this, he said, “Take me to any platform at any station and I am ready to come and meet the commuters. I have held numerous programmes in the last few days related to this.” He even faxed us his schedule to prove his point.
Officially, however, the BJP claims that the people understand the reasons behind the hike and will not punish the party in the assembly polls. “The people realise that the rail fares would have been hiked irrespective of which party came to power.
We will be providing facilities and better infrastructure. People trust Narendra Modi and they know that if this decision has been taken, there is a reason behind it. So, we don’t think we will face any setback in the city during the elections,” said Mumbai BJP spokesperson Niranjan Shetty.