Former railway minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad on Friday slammed the Narendra Modi government for announcing "big" hike in rail fare and freight, which he described as the "first salvo on common man".
"The BJP befooled people in the general election by promising Achee din...they have fired the first salvo from toop (tank) on common man's chest by announcing big increase in rail fare and freight," Prasad told reporters.
Prasad, who served as railway minister in UPA I and earned praise by not raising fare for five years during his tenure and generating surplus for the Railway, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government showed its "real character" by announcing the hike within days of coming to power.
"I do not remember any government in the past had announced such a big increase in Railway fare and freight in one go," Prasad said reacting on the 14.2 per cent increase in fare across all classes and hike in freight charge by 6.5 per cent with effect from today.
Prasad took credit for decreasing the rail fare every year during his tenure as minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) I.
Narrating his 'success' story, the former Bihar Chief Minister claimed, "Around 14 lakh employees of Railway were not sure if they would get salary when I took over the charge. But, I gave them bonus also."
Prasad said that the BJP and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had been known for increasing prices of essential services. "This is their character from the beginning and Narendra Modi government has lived up to that," he said.