Call it happenstance, a happy coincidence or a cleverly calculated move but railway minister Mamata Banerjee’s ministry has been on overdrive these last couple of weeks tom-tomming its ‘achievements’. With West Bengal headed for the Assembly polls, the railways has been busy carrying out what can perhaps be described
as “surrogate publicity” for its minister who’s campaigning hard to wrest victory from the Left. Or perhaps it’s just been a remarkable year for the railways under Ms Banerjee’s stewardship.
But with the railways publicity juggernaut lauding the railways for its “highest ever” achievements in meeting various targets garnering scarcely any coverage in the media, the railways perhaps thought it fit to call reporters and list them out once again. So none other than the chairman, Railway Board, Vivek Sahai, held a press conference on Thursday to tom-tom the railways achievements in various areas.
Asked if the press conference had anything to do with the impending Bengal polls, Mr Sahai replied: “All of you had created this hype about the railways going bankrupt. It’s noteworthy that as railway minister, Mamata Banerjee didn’t really win any accolades and was also often accused of absenteeism from Delhi and being “Bengal-centric” with the railway budgets. In the run-up to the polls, Ms Banerjee has been under attack from the Left for her “non- performance” as railway minister. Asked how many projects had been launched by the railways in Bengal, Mr Sahai didn’t have to respond to his query with the gentleman conducting the conference uttering “poll-bound” for there was no need to respond to this question.
“Poll-bound” in fact was a handy tool for no responses on West Bengal during today’s press conference. However, the railways wasn’t averse to boasting in a press release issued on April 4 that West Bengal-based wagon manufacturer Braithwaite & Co Limited which has three units in the state was awarded the turn-around award for 2010. Asian Age