Modi bluffing, railways already heading for privatization: Congress

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) Terming as bluff Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that Indian Railways will not be privatized, the Congress Monday said it is already headed for it in view of the cabinet’s green signal to 100 percent FDI in railways.

“The government is privatizing Indian Railways by stealth, by no transparency. Without calling it privatization, it is privatizing every aspect of the railways. Only the driver that runs the engine will be remain a government servant. But rest is all privatized,” party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi told media persons here.
Terming it yet another “somersault”, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s actions at present are not in sync with the promises its leaders made on the campaign trail in the run-up to the general elections and soon after taking power.
Singhvi said Modi’s strong pitch for privatization in railways in March 2013 contradicts his statement made in Varanasi last week that ruled out its privatization.
“The government’s stand on Indian Railways is another addition to its list of U-turns as there is contradiction between what Modi said in his campaign, what he said after coming into power, and what he is saying at present,” he said.
Modi, then Gujarat chief minister in March last year, said: “If private vehicles can move on public roads, if private airlines can fly out of government-made runways, why can’t private trains run on the government’s tracks? The government can own the tracks but why must it control what goes on the top?”
But speaking at a railway establishment in his constituency Varanasi last week, Prime Ministe Modi, linking the railways to his ‘Make in India’ campaign, had said: “There is a misunderstanding that railways is being privatized. However, I want to make it clear that we are not privatising railways… You (railway workers) need not worry. It is neither our wish nor thinking.”
Pointing out the disparity in the stand, Singhvi said: “What’s the meaning of this stand. Apart from the U-turn, they are fooling the nation and misleading to seek votes on false claims.”
Singhvi said the government’s claim holds no water as the cabinet approved the 100 percent FDI to seek high-speed trains system, railway electrification, freight terminals, signalling systems, among several other aspects, sparing only some of its staff.
On the Congress’ role in government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, Singhvi said that the party would be a marginal player due to the weak mandate it received in the assembly elections. However, he said the party was willing to extend “constructive support” to any secular formation in the state.