Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat on Sunday said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's rail fare hike justification is 'laughable' and added that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had never said during their election campaign that they would continue with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) policies.
"It is a wrong step when inflation is soaring high. This decision will impact all areas and Arun Jaitley's statement is laughable. During election campaign; they never said they will continue with same policies as UPA. ," she said.
"It seems like people have given votes to the BJP to implement UPA's policies. There is no fundamental difference between UPA and NDA's economic policies. Arun Jaitley is repeating what Manmohan Singh has been saying," she added.
Jaitley on Saturday had defended the BJP for increasing railway price. "The Railway minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision," says Jaitley. "India must decide whether it wants a world class Railway or a ram shackled one. By withdrawing the countermanding order, the present Railway Minister has taken a challenging decision," he added.
BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Friday decided to raise passenger fares by 14.2% and freight charges by 6.5% effective June 25 which will help Indian Railways raise an additional Rs 8,000 crore in the financial year.
Post the announcement BJP had been facing criticism from the opposition and the common people for announcing the hike before the budget.
Earlier today protests were held across the country demanding reduction in rail price.
The budget is expected to be announced in the first week of July. By tradition, the railway budget is announced two days before that.
The fare increase had been proposed by the previous government in the interim budget but was put on hold because of elections.