Congress Dubs Bullet Train Project As ‘Electoral Bullet Train’, Accuses PM Modi of Lifting UPA Project

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It is a matter of deep concern that while Prime Minister Modi once again adopted a UPA (government) project, it took him three-and-a-half years to come to this stage of laying the foundation stone. It is only timed with the Gujarat elections (slated for later this year) in mind, said the  leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge 

ABDUL BARI MASOUD | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — While dubbing the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train as an “electoral bullet train”, the Congress on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for laying the foundation stone in Ahmedabad-Mumbai with his Japanese counterpart saying the project’s launch was timed keeping in mind the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls. It also said the Modi government is least concerned about the safety of the rail passengers, despite the World Bank and CAG’s adverse report.

Addressing a press conference here, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge along with spokesperson RPN Singh said: “The foundation stone laying followed a set pattern of announcing packages and big-ticket projects by the Modi government ahead of every state election.”

Kharge, who is also a former railway minister, accused the Modi government of “completely abdicating its responsibility” towards the safety of passengers while focusing on this one project. He also charged the PM with delaying the project, conceived by the previous Congress-led UPA government in 2013.

“The Congress-UPA government had signed an agreement with Japan in 2013 and this was a $7 billion contract envisaged under the Delhi-Mumbai Economic Corridor that would have also lead to the introduction of bullet trains. The 2013 agreement mentioned the details of the High Speed Railway Line between the Mumbai-Ahmedabad routes,” he added.

Read: Sena Criticises PM Narendra Modi’s Bullet Train Project

“It is a matter of deep concern that while Prime Minister Modi once again adopted a UPA (government) project, it took him three-and-a-half years to come to this stage of laying the foundation stone. It is only timed with the Gujarat elections (slated for later this year) in mind…This is nothing but an electoral (chunavi) bullet train,” he added.

“People have been befooled once. The countrymen are very intelligent and will not be fooled again and again with the false promises made by Modi, who has only given speeches and then forgotten them,” he said, recalling how he had promised to convert Varanasi which he represents in the Lok Sabha, into Kyoto.

The former railway minister said it was “most distressing” that the Modi government was focusing on this one big project at the cost of Rs 1.1 lakh crore while it has “completely abdicated its responsibility” towards safety to the crores of rail passengers who travel daily on trains.

The BJP, that promised “bullet trains”, has done away with “Railway Budget” which was a reflection of the status and capacity of the railways.

“While the prime minister makes fake claims of railway expansion from the Red Fort, his government reduces the budgetary allocation of ‘Construction of New Rail Lines’ by 12 per cent,” he said.

RPN Singh also accused the government of ignoring railway safety as he underlined that around 259 passengers have been killed and 973 injured in 29 major railway accidents since this government came to power.

Both the Congress leaders also  pointed out  that 1.42 lakh posts for safety staff remained vacant across India, which according to experts, was a major concern and a clear case of official apathy.

Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe launched India’s first bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai with a cost of  Rs 1.10 lakh crore that will cut travel time between the two cities from seven hours to less than three.

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