Thiruvananthapuram: Barring the BJP, all political parties in Kerala were up in arms against the hike in railway fares and freight charges announced by the NDA government Friday.
Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran V.S.Achuthanandan said this is the first blow rendered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the people of the country.
"This clearly indicates that the policies of the NDA government are the same as the UPA government, and Kerala is going to be affected hugely because our state is dependent on everything from outside and the hike in freight charges would see instant spiralling of prices of all items," he said.
"The need of the hour is to protest against this indiscriminate hike of railway fares," said Achuthanandan, who is also leader of opposition in the state assembly.
State Congress president V.M.Sudheeran said this is a cruel blow on the people and demanded the hike in fares and freight charges be withdrawn.
"The central government should instantly withdraw this hike which is going to affect the people very badly. For this to happen, there should be strong protest in a democratic manner," said Sudheeran.
At the capital city`s railway station, the news was greeted with anger.
"Was it not Modi who said a hundred times in his election campaign and later that his government will function taking into consideration the aspirations of the common man?" an angry passenger asked.
"Is this what he meant? We are given to understand that the railway budget is expected to be presented shortly and when it is presented, they might reduce it a little. This is nothing but playing politics and the common man is always the worst affected," added another passenger.
The government Friday raised the railway passenger fares by 14.2 percent in all classes and freight charge by 6.5 percent. These will come into effect from June 25.
The ministry said the revision of rates was done as part of interim budget presented by the previous government, but was not implemented because of the Lok Sabha elections.