It was like the festivals of Holi and Diwali being celebrated together on the streets of Patna as hundreds of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) workers smeared colour on each other and burst firecrackers to hail the interim Railway Budget presented by party chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in parliament Friday.
The RJD chief's supporters, mostly workers and leaders of the party, also took out celebratory marches to the accompaniment of drums, shouted his praise and danced on the streets to popular tunes. Reports of celebrations came in from other Bihar cities too.
'It is time for us to celebrate and pray to god to bless Lalu Prasad to become the prime minister of India and make a similar turnaround like he has done to the railways,' said Chotu Singh, a RJD leader and a die-hard supporter of Lalu Prasad, a view echoed by many on the streets.
The people on the streets were full of praise for the minister's move to cut train fares and also announce the start of a bullet train from Patna to Delhi.
'I heard that Lalu Prasad has not hiked train fares and instead has cut fares by two percent, it is a people-friendly step. He has proved his innings to be a successful one,' said Shakaldeo Kumar, a businessman.
Gopi Lal Sharma, sitting at a tea shop in Maurya Lok market complex, said that Lalu Prasad should be given another term as railway minister.
However, Lalu Prasad's rivals, particularly the ruling alliance of Janata Dal-United and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters, criticized the Railway Budget like they have in the past.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the Railway Budget as nothing but an 'election budget'.
'There is nothing in it except a rail budget for the next parliament elections,' Kumar said.
Lalu Prasad introduced 43 new trains and said feasibility studies were on for starting 'bullet trains' in the country.