New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday latched on to the rail budget to claim there was a "capitalist" tilt to the functioning of the Narendra Modi government and that it was bent upon privatising the railways.
Looking to put the NDA dispensation in the dock over rail budget 2014-15, Congress not only protested inside Parliament but also held an agitation outside the residence of Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda.
"(The NDA) government`s direction for the country is diametrically opposite to that of the socialist path. Everything is being done to appease the capitalists. Social obligations of our (previous UPA) government have been criticised as if we`d committed a mistake in following them.
"We apprehend that the government is heading more and more towards privatisation," Congress MP and former Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told reporters at an AICC briefing.
Slamming the rail budget, he said further, "We are not averse to the PPP model. It was conceived by us. We are not even averse to private sector (investment) in railways, but here you have specific segments like parcel freight being identified for privatisation. It is the high- earning areas that are being offered to private investors.
"We do not have any objection to FDI, but I wonder why it is required when you are talking about surplus investible funds from PSUs to be used for the creation of infrastructure. I take pity on them."
Chowdhury will tomorrow be the first speaker from Congress to speak on the Railway budget when discussion is taken up over the same.
Terming the rail budget "lacklustre", he said it has "disappointed" people. Rail minister Gowda was "busy belittling the achievements of UPA government" instead of outlining his ministry`s plans, Chowdhury further claimed.
"We have not found any roadmap for the future, any long- term perspective or any clear vision for the railways in this budget. It is abundantly clear from the rail budget that the government is talking much and executing little," he said.