Congress leader Rahul Gandhi travelled on the Intercity Express train from Bilaspur to Raipur during his visit to Chhattisgarh.
During his journey, he interacted with fellow passengers and was accompanied by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Deputy Chief Minister T S Singhdeon, and Congress state president Deepak Baij.
Sushil Anand Shukla, chief of the media cell for the Congress in Chhattisgarh, said, "Rahul wanted to understand all the grievances of passengers. A lot of trains are getting cancelled or delayed in Chhattisgarh, and railway properties are being privatised by the Central government."
According to reports, as many as 2,682 passenger trains passing through Raipur were cancelled at some point between April last year and April this year.
Baghel said, "The Railway Minister is often noticed only during rail accidents, while the Prime Minister takes centre stage when inaugurating new train services."
Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching nine Vande Bharat trains across 11 states, Baghel said, "Trains that are flagged off are either small or have no passengers because the journey on these trains has become very expensive. The trains that used to have a continuous flow of passengers are being cancelled every now and then, and the Prime Minister does not address this issue. Moreover, the inauguration of the rail corridor by the Prime Minister is not for passengers, but for coal transportation."
In response to the comments by the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stated that these inconveniences are temporary and necessary for the greater good, as new railway lines are being laid.
State BJP chief Arun Sao said that the Congress is employing "diversionary" tactics by highlighting train cancellations. He stated, "The reality is that a lot of improvement has been brought about at railway stations in Chhattisgarh, and new development work is ongoing. Very soon, people will benefit from it..."