How the trains, projects are shared

Congress president Sonia Gandhi's constituency Rae Bareli features prominently among the sites of new projects announced in the rail budget, a fact opposition parties took note of. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj's constituency, too, has one of eight factory projects announced.

Three new factories will come up in Congress-ruled states Haryana, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh while a fourth project too will be in Rajasthan, a conversion of workshops in Bikaner and Pratapgarh to enable them to undertake periodic overhaul of broad-gauge wagons. A fifth project will be in NDA-ruled Madhya Pradesh, in Sushma's seat. Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli, Chandigarh (the railway minister's constituency) and Orissa complete the list.

Rae Bareli will get a forged wheel factory, adjacent to a rail coach factory newly opened there. The factory will come up in partnership with the state-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited. RINL, controlled by the steel ministry, will erect the plant on 27 acres of railway land, and railways will also ensure full offtake.

The minister has also selected a link between Rae Bareli and Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's constituency, among those where doubling work will be undertaken next year. Trains running through Uttar Pradesh will touch these two constituencies, sparking opposition allegations that this is a "Rae Bareli budget".

Asked whether Rae Bareli got preferential treatment, rail minister P K Bansal denied it. If anyone considers work in Rae Bareli anathema, I cannot help it," he told reporters.

In Vidisha, Sushma's constituency, Misrod near Bhopal will get a new factory for repair and rehabilitation of motorised bogies. Sushma had reportedly requested minister P K Bansal personally for a project in her area.

In Bansal's Chandigarh, a modern signalling equipment facility will come up through a public-private partnership.

Of Congress-ruled states, Haryana will get a rail coach factory in Sonepat, Andhra Pradesh a midlife rehabilitation workshop in Kurnool, and Rajasthan an electrical units manufacturing facility in Bhilwara.

Orissa's Kalandhi will get a new wagon-maintenance workshop. Sources said Sonia had been pushing for this project.

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