AAP, CPI leaders demand railway minister’s resignation

Congress says questions to the government can wait till Sunday as rescue and relief is an immediate task.

AAP, CPI leaders demand railway minister’s resignation

Ashwini Vaishnaw (Photo: ANI)

Expressing grief over the death of 261 passengers in a three-train collision in Odisha’s Balasore district, Opposition leaders from AAP and CPI have demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw over the incident.

However, the main Opposition party in the Lok Sabha Congress has said questions to the government can wait till Sunday as rescue and relief is an immediate requirement.

More than 900 people were injured in the tragic train accident that occurred on Friday evening. The three-way accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and a goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Odisha’s Balasore district.


Demanding the railway minister’s resignation over the incident, AAP minister Saurabh Bhardwaj in a tweet said, “The way the news of the accident has come, it is India’s biggest rail accident in history so far. Three trains have collided. So many people have died. A few days back, the same central government had given a presentation and said that they have come up with such a system that no train could collide with each other. Was the statement that a system was brought a lie or that because of corruption that system could not work? Somebody should take responsibility for this. Just saying that we have formed a committee is not enough. The central government should take responsibility for this and the railway minister should resign immediately.”

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded a proper investigation to ascertain the exact cause of the tragic train accident that killed 261 people and injured over 900 others.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam has also demanded Vaishnaw’s resignation over the triple train tragedy.

“Government concentrates only on luxury trains. Trains and tracks of common people are neglected. Orissa deaths are the result of it. Rail minister should resign,” Viswam said in a tweet.

Expressing his grief over the death of the passengers in the train accident, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the party had many questions to ask the prime minister (Narendra Modi) and the railway minister, but those can wait since the immediate task is of rescue and relief.

In a statement, Kharge said, “At this moment of grave national tragedy on account of the terrible train disaster in Odisha, I have instructed the entire Congress party organisation to extend all possible and needed help.”

He said a number of Congress leaders from different states have either already reached or will soon be reaching Balasore. “I once again extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. We have many questions to ask the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister but those can wait since the immediate task is of rescue and relief,” the Congress chief said.

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, expressing shock over the tragedy, said “I am most pained and anguished by the terrible train disaster in Odisha. I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to all the bereaved families,” Sonia Gandhi, who is the Chairperson of Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), said in a statement.

Echoing the views of Kharge, Congress General Secretary, Communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh said, “The rail crash in Odisha is truly horrendous. It is a matter of the greatest anguish. It reinforces why safety should always be the foremost priority in the functioning of the rail network. There are many legitimate questions that need to be raised but that should wait till tomorrow.”

Former Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has called for a high-level inquiry into the train accident.

Alleging negligence, in an apparent reference to the BJP-led Central government, without naming anybody, Yadav said, “The manner in which they showed negligence and didn’t show alertness led to such a large number of casualties”.

“There should be a high-level inquiry and action should be taken against those responsible for it…There was major negligence. They have destroyed Railways,” the RJD chief said.