For the BJP, the trial run of Kerala’s first semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express from Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station to Kannur was a moment to revel.
After a small ‘puja’ at 5 a.m. on Monday at the station here, the train chugged out carrying top Railway officials along with staff members.
The green signal was given at 5.09 a.m. and the first stop was at Kollam, then it stopped at Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and finally at Kannur where it came to halt at 12.19 p.m.
The total time taken was 7 hours and 10 minutes — the fastest time taken to cover this distance. Normally it takes 8 hours and 40 minutes to cover the same distance by the fastest train available.
The chief loco pilot of the trial run M.I. Kuriakose, who said it was an exhilarating experience and that he has never ever received such a reception in his career.
“We could travel at 110 kmph speed from Shornur and at the rest of the sections it ranged from 80 to 100 kmph. The controls are so easy and the biggest advantage is that the acceleration is very quick and braking is also easy, compared to other trains,” said Kuriakose.
Incidentally, the train commenced its return journey from Kannur at 2.10 p.m.
Meanwhile, at all the stops where the train halted, BJP workers gathered in strength and raised pro-Modi slogans, and sweets were also distributed to celebrate the event.
The BJP, which does not have any representation in the 140-member Kerala Assembly or in the 20 Lok Sabha seats, is now losing no opportunity to project the functioning of the Modi-led NDA government in the state and, hence their cadres were out in large numbers to celebrate the trial run.
The BJP will be going to town with this as their main target is the controversial K-Rail project, which is still not cleared at any level, but the CPI(M), especially Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and party secretary M.V. Govindan has been pushing for a long.
The BJP workers are taking on Govindan in a big way as he had earlier said if K-Rail becomes operational women can make ‘appam’ (local bread) at their homes in Palakkad and board the K-Rail train and sell it at Kochi and return in a few hours.
The social media lost no opportunity to slam Govidan’s statement. Ever since the Vande Bharat train arrived from Chennai last week, the BJP workers have been distributing appom at all the places.
But not to sit idle, Govindan hit back by saying “if women use the Vande Bharat trains to sell their appom, it will turn stale as the train takes a long time”.
Meanwhile, the Congress party is batting for extending the Vande Bharat train till Mangalore, so that it benefits more people.
Now all eyes are on April 25 when Modi himself arrives here to flag off the train on its first commercial run.
(This article has been published via a syndicated feed)