New Delhi: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday charged Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal with presenting a 'Budget of Sycophancy' in the Lok Sabha.
Commenting on the Railway Budget proposals for fiscal 2013-14, Sinha said that it was a budget favouring the Congress Party and more particularly the Nehru-Gandhi family.
He questioned the need for the government to announce several projects in Congress president Sonia Gandhi's parliamentary constituency of Rae Bareli, while ignoring the rest of the country.
"We were shouting slogans inside Parliament that this is not a 'Railway Budget', but a 'Rae Bareli Budget'. If you mention the name of one place three to four times and will not take the names of big states even once, obviously there will be resentment. This is one of the big weaknesses of this budget. It is a budget of sycophancy," said Sinha.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, however, countered Sinha's observations by complimenting Railway Minister Bansal for presenting a 'commendable and practical' budget.
"It is a very responsible, practical and implementable budget. I think after many years, he has candidly stated the state of finances of the railways and within the resources the railways can mobilise, I think he has done a remarkable job of providing new trains, new lines, extensions, capital work and production facilities. I think it is a very commendable budget," said Chidambaram.
Bansal, who presented his maiden Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha this morning, however, said there would be no hike in passenger fares, as a hike had already been introduced in January this year, but added that certain charges like supplementary fee, superfast fee, reservation fee, cancellation fee and Tatkal charges will see a marginal hike.
The Railway Minister also underlined the measures to make the Indian Railways a better and safer mode of transport and said that the time had come to make the organisation financially sustainable.
Bansal further said the rail network needs to be expanded at a faster rate, and added that the growth of railways is linked to the nation"s growth.
This was the first Rail Budget presented by a Congress minister after 17 years.