New Delhi. Railway Minister Mukul Roy has announced a new feature in train ticket booking that will protect a Trinamool Congress worker from being allotted a berth next to a CPM supporter. The feature will be introduced in beta stage first on the IRCTC website next week, and would soon be implemented on all ticket counters of the Indian Railways.
“We have to make sure that an aam aadmi, especially a Trinamool Congress supporter, doesn’t end up befriending a communist during a train journey,” Railway Minister explained the rationale behind the decision.
Earlier, Trinamool Congress had called for a social boycott of CPM supporters. The party had asked its members not to marry into families supporting CPM, in fact, not to be even friends with a communist.
Following this instruction, Trinamool MP and former TV quiz-master Derek O’ Brien had declared, during an interview on a national television news channel, that he would not sit next to an MP belonging to the Left parties in the Parliament.
Sources say that Mukul Roy heard the statement on TV and decided to extend the logic to seating arrangements in the Railways.
“There is a race to impress Mamata Di among the Trinamool MPs; maybe with an exception of Dinesh Trivedi,” a source said, “The decision of Mukul Roy has to be seen in this light.”
After consulting party members and software experts, Mukul Roy is believed to have ordered changes in the IRCTC website. Now a person would be asked to fill up his political affiliation while booking a train ticket.
“Just like currently they ask you to indicate your food preferences in terms of ‘veg’ or ‘non-veg’ while booking a Rajdhani or Shatabdi ticket, you will be asked about your political preference in terms of ‘left’ or ‘non-left’ while booking tickets in any reserved class,” a source informed.
Passengers with left leanings will be allotted berths together, and it would be made sure that no one with non-left political leanings gets to sit next to a left leaning passenger.
“The same rule will apply in cases of ticket upgrade or RAC (reservation against cancellation). In fact, people won’t be allowed to exchange berths if the action ends up putting a communist next to a non-communist,” Mukul Roy explained the benefits of the new feature.
When asked why he was assuming that every non-communist would like to avoid contacts with a communist, the Railway Minister said that it was a decision that couldn’t be rolled back.
“Didi approves it, and this is for aam aadmi’s better future and welfare,” he said.
For the non-reserved class, a special coach for communists, with 24 berths and without any toilet or basic amenities like fans, could be attached to trains, unconfirmed sources tell Faking News.
(originally written for and published in leading English daily DNA)