The Shiv Sena has criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for the railway fare hike, but has stopped short of demanding a rollback saying "the people expect this hike to be the final one".
An editorial in "Saamna", the party mouthpiece, said on Monday, "The people felt that since the (Narendra) Modi-led government had come to power, a magic wand would ensure that the fires of inflation will be subdued and they voted the Congress government out on these grounds." But the railway fare hike had led to chaos and given the opposition a stick with which to beat the government.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is editor of Saamna, while the day-to-day operations of the newspaper are managed by Sanjay Raut, executive editor, who is also Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson.
"Railway minister Sadananda Gowda has in the initial phase itself imposed a massive fare hike and run the people over with a train," the editorial said. It said that while this could have been avoided, a picture was created that if the travel fares were not hiked the railway system would collapse.
It said that a day would come when the minister would have to account for the utilization of money raised through the hike.
The editorial stated that Modi had promised the advent of "acche din", with reducing inflation being among the top priorities, but the fare hike had burdened people.
It noted that the Indian Railways was in a poor shape as compared with that in other developing countries, and that infrastructure had not kept pace with the rise in passenger traffic.
Attacking former railway ministers over graft and rent seeking, the editorial asked whether people would get better facilities for the money they pay instead of this becoming a way for the betterment of politicians.
Meanwhile, leader of the opposition Vinod Tawade will lead a delegation of BJP and Shiv Sena MPs to the railway minister on Tuesday to inform him about the anger of Mumbaikars over the higher passenger fares.