Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Worried over the possible adverse political fallout of the steep hike in rail fares, BJP and Shiv Sena MPs from Maharashtra on Tuesday met Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said after the meeting that the Railway Minister has promised to consider the problems faced by commuters in Mumbai due to hike in railway fares.
"The Railway Minister has assured us that the feelings of Mumbaikars will be considered," said Somaiya.
The MPs have reasons to be worried as Assembly polls are due in the state in a few months. While the Sena-BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls and remain confident of good showing in state polls, the hike in rail fares has left them worried, especially about their fortunes in Mumbai where local train fares is an emotive issue.
BJP leader and leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council, Vinod Tawde, had earlier said, "A season pass which cost Rs 115 will now cost Rs 330", adding that commuters feel this hike was "unjust and huge".
The Shiv Sena has also come out strongly against the move. An editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna said, "Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has in the first instance brought a steep fare hike and has run the train over the common man."
“The new government should now introspect how it hurled abuses at the previous Congress regime and honestly work towards improving the efficiency of the railways,” the editorial said.
Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut was more direct. He said that PM Modi should "come in front of the public and explain the hike."
"People brought them to power with certain ideas. While we understand the government doesn`t have a magic wand, the public was not prepared for this hike. It is too bitter a pill to swallow," Raut said.
"If the public is angry, we are angry. This is not just for Mumbai and we aren`t saying this because Maharashtra goes to elections (in four months). Train fares are important here," Raut said.