New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) Mr Lalu Prasad may have lost power to run Bihar, yet retains the power to run new trains to his home state and used it fully in Railway Budget 2006-07.
Fifteen of the 55 new trains proposed in the budget will race down the Ganga plains to Patna, Chhapra, Siwan, Saharsa, Sonepur, Darbhanga, Hajipur and other Bihar towns.
In comparison, 16 of the new trains touch or originate in the four states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
''The train which starts from Bihar will go to other places too,'' the Minister explained in a TV interview.
Later, at a post-budget press conference, Railway Board Chairman Jai Prakash Batra too defended the Ministry against charges that it was ''pro-Bihar''.
Asked why Bihar was favoured in the budget, he claimed that ''by and large all areas have been taken care of''.
''It will be incorrect to say Bihar has been given any undue advantage'', he said.
Perhaps aware that he may face this question, the Chairman came prepared with the ''facts''. According to Mr Batra, 34 new trains were started in the northern region, 53 in the southern region, 59 in the eastern belt, 34 in western and 28 in central India over the last few years.
UNI NAZ/VN VD HS1909