Stop politicising Balasore train accident: BJP on opposition’s demand for Railway Minister’s resignation

BJP IT head Amit Malviya shared details of accidents under previous Ministers, defending the ‘most qualified Railway Minister the country has had in seven-and-half decades’

Updated - June 05, 2023 05:17 pm IST

Published - June 04, 2023 10:13 pm IST - New Delhi

BJP information technology head Amit Malviya. File.

BJP information technology head Amit Malviya. File.

The BJP on Sunday asked Opposition parties to “not politicise” the Balasore train accident, and said the track record of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s Railway Ministers was “nothing short of a disaster”.

BJP information technology head Amit Malviya shared on Twitter what he said were the details of accidents under previous Ministers and added that such "worthies" were the ones demanding the resignation of the "most qualified" Railway Minister country has had in seven-and-half decades.

An infographic depicting how the Odisha train crash may have happened based on the preliminary probe by Indian Railway Ministry.

An infographic depicting how the Odisha train crash may have happened based on the preliminary probe by Indian Railway Ministry.

The Congress had earlier demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the latter should accept part of the responsibility for creating an “all is well facade” even while the critical infrastructure of the Indian Railways “languishes in neglect”.

"Stop politicising the unfortunate Balasore tragedy because track record of railway ministers, under the UPA, to put it mildly, was nothing short of disaster. Let us focus on relief and rescue operation and putting life and rail back on track, at the earliest," Mr. Malviya shot back.

Under Mamata Banerjee as Railway Minister, 1,451 people died in 54 cases of collisions and 839 incidents of train derailments, he said. The death toll was 1,159 when Lalu Yadav was the Railway Minister, while the corresponding figure for Nitish Kumar was 1,527, Mr. Malviya said.

Mr. Lalu Yadav was the Railway Minister in the first term of the UPA government, while Mr. Kumar was at the helm during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed by the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

This is the report card of those demanding resignation Ashwini Vaishnaw, Mr. Malviya said.

Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee has been vocal in slamming the Union government over the accident.

"Banerjee's rise in politics has been over dead bodies. From Singur to post poll violence of 2021, all she has done is indulged in dirty politics of death and destruction," Mr. Malviya alleged.

He posted a video in which Mr. Vaishnaw is seen clarifying to Ms. Banerjee at the accident site on Saturday, after she suggested that the death toll could be as high as 500. "That is Mamata Banerjee — petty and petulant," Mr. Malviya said.

The BJP leader said the Indian Railways had taken several measures for passengers' safety in the last few years. This included record work for the maintenance and renewal of tracks, while all unmanned level crossings on broad gauge routes had been eliminated.

The installation of the ‘Kavach’ Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) on all railway routes was proceeding quickly, Mr. Malviya said, citing other measures as well.

The Railway Board has recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Balasore train accident that has so far claimed 275 lives.

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