Slamming the rail fare hike, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today said that though BJP government promised to set right the "wrong precedents" of UPA government, its approach was no different from its predecessor's on certain issues.
BJP's Tamil Nadu allies, DMDK and MDMK, also sought a rollback of the fare revision. Karunanidhi said the hike came close on the heels of issues like Sri Lankan Navy's continued action against Indian fishermen, New Delhi's 'relationship' with that country's President Mahinda Rajapakase and hike in diesel price, all after the BJP came to power. This showed there was no change in the Centre's approach on such matters though a new party was in power, he added. "BJP came to power promising that the wrong precedents set by the previous government would be set right..... the urgency shown in hiking passenger fare by 14.2 per cent will greatly impact the poor and middle classes," he said in a statement. He also referred to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seeking a rollback of the hike and said that not just her, but all political parties had opposed the move.
Taking this into account, the Centre should immediately withdraw the increase "to ease the burden on common people and prevent the increase in prices of essential commodities." He also took a dig at Jayalalithaa, saying she had effected hike in bus fares after coming to power in the 2011 Assembly polls.
DMDK founder Vijayakant said the "wrong economic policies" of UPA had resulted in increase in prices of fuel and essential commodities and thus affected people.
With railway passenger fare and freight charges also being hiked in the last one year, yesterday's revision would further propel the prices of essential commodities, he said in a statement. "This will further impact the poor. Therefore I request that the fare hike be reconsidered," he said.
MDMK leader Vaiko also made a plea on the same grounds.
Railways had yesterday effected a steep across-the-board hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares in all classes and a 6.5 per cent increase in freight rates to garner Rs 8000 crore a year.