The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata sees vote link

Calcutta, Feb. 26: Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee was critical of successor Nitish Kumar, saying the budget presented by him did not pay much attention to passenger safety and failed to do justice to Bengal’s requirements.

Breaking her silence on Kumar after her return to the NDA, the Trinamul leader described the railway budget as a “budget for getting votes”.

“I too had not raised railway fares and freight during my tenure, but was criticised by different political parties. Today, the railway minister has simply followed my footsteps,” she said.

Mamata maintained that she always had the common people’s interest in mind while preparing the railway budget. “I am against imposition of additional burden on commuters, whether it is an election year or not. I always put the common man’s interest above political considerations.”

The Trinamul leader felt the railway budget did not address Bengal’s requirements or provide enough funds for on-going projects. She pointed out that Bengal has got fewer new trains compared to Bihar and other states.

She also came down heavily on the railway minister for neglecting the security aspect. “There are thousands of unmanned level crossings which pose a serious threat. The railways should have paid greater attention to the passenger security and safety and taken special measures to prevent mishaps caused by human error,” she said.

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