BJP woos 50 lakh north Indians with special trains

A 20-point letter to railway minister and CR demands increase in number of holiday special trains to UP and Bihar during summer; wants weekly trains to be converted into bi- and tri-weeklies

Keeping in mind the impact the 50-lakh-strong north Indian community will have on the 2017 BMC election, the BJP seems to have initiated the process of wooing its electorate.

A BJP delegation hands over the demand letter to the CR authorities. One of the demands made in the letter is that trains like Duranto, Garib Rath and Superfast trains be augmented and at least two teacher special trains to run up to Varanasi
A BJP delegation hands over the demand letter to the CR authorities. One of the demands made in the letter is that trains like Duranto, Garib Rath and Superfast trains be augmented and at least two teacher special trains to run up to Varanasi

It has been learnt that on January 21, a day before Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu visited Mumbai, a delegation of BJP leaders handed a long list of demands to the Central Railway (CR) officials, asking them to pass it on to Prabhu. The 20-point letter claims that the CR has reduced the number of holiday special trains during summer by half.

“‘Earlier there were around 1,500 holiday special trains for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but now that number has come down to just 725 trains,” stated the letter. However, CR authorities have debunked the claim. “We have added several coaches to the existing set of regular trains and this is the reason why the number of holiday special trains might have come down,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, CR.

Demands galore
The letter also states the need to give Varanasi — PM Narendra Modi’s constituency — special preference. A demand has also been made that trains like Duranto, Garib Rath and Superfast trains be augmented, while at least two teacher special trains to run up to Varanasi. The BJP also wants to change the name from Garib Rath — given by the previous Congress-led government — to Antyodaya Rath.

The letter also calls for conversion of weekly special trains into bi- and tri-weekly. In addition, trains starting from Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) to Mau, Azamgadh, Sultanpur, Faizabad and Jaunpur should operate twice a week. Also, that services of popular trains like Godhan Express, Mahanagri, Faizabad, Rajendra Nagar Superfast and Darbanga be increased.

The letter also demands pantry cars in all holiday special trains, irrespective of the destination.

“They also want more general and sleeper class coaches. They also seek the suspension of premium or suvidha trains, where fares increase depending on demand, as most passengers travelling to UP and Bihar can’t afford it. Installation of CCTV cameras in all trains heading north is another demand, as incidents of dacoity increase as trains cross Nashik,” said an official.

“We have faxed our list of demands to the Railway minister’s office in Delhi. We also had a meeting with the CR officials about the same,” said Kailash Verma, BJP functionary and member of Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC).

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