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Left threatens to vote against Railway Budget

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) Perturbed over the neglect of lakhs of daily commuters, gradual privatisation of Railway services and turning down of their plea for Eastern Corridor from Kolkata to Delhi, the Left parties today threatened to vote against the Railway Budget if their concerns were not addressed.

''We feel greatly perturbed that the government has chosen to brush aside our sentiment, which was also in the knowledge of the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Railway Minister,'' the leaders of the CPI(M) and CPI said at a joint press conference inside the vicinity of Parliament House.

CPI(M) Parlimantary group leader Basudeb Acharia said, ''we will vote against the Railway Budget if the wrongs are not rectified. We are the supporting parties. We have as many as 42 MPs from West Bengal, even then our plea has been ignored.'' The Left leaders said they had been pleading for Eastern Corridor from Kolkata to Delhi. The government instead had decided to build the corridor with computerisation in the Eastern route from Ludhiana.

CPI Floor leader in the Lok Sabha Gurudas Dasgupta said they were greatly perturbed as Lalu's budget for 2006-07 was modelled on the Finance Minister Chidambaram's economic model of privatisation and giving relief to the upper middle classes only.

The members of the Left parties and the BJP-led Oppostion today disrupted the railway Budget speech of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad for about 25 minutes, protesting that their areas had been ignored while announcing new trains and facilites.

CPI(M) parlimantary Group leader in the Rajya Sabha Nilotpal Basu and party chief Whip Rup Chand Pal and CPI Deputy Floor leader in the Lok Sabha C K Chandrappan, who also addressed the press conference, found the Budget lacking on several counts, mainly expansion of network, consolidation, modernisation, increase in the number of coaches, maintenance, and cleanliness among other things.

''We are not parochial.. it is not the question of the neglect of West Bengal, Kerala, Orissa and Assam alone, the Railway Budget reflects the changed approach and attitude of the UPA government,'' Mr Acharia said, adding that there had been no sincere attempt to address the problems being faced by the Railways.

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