Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Dr Nirmal Khatri, who accompanied railway minister Bansal to Allahabad, however, squarely blamed the state government for mismanagement.
Demanding a judicial probe into the death of 36 pilgrims in the stampede at the railway station, Khatri said the state government did not discharge its responsibility fully. “The government was more interested in large-scale transfers of IAS/IPS officers a day before the Shahi Snan on February 10 than in ensuring foolproof arrangements,” he said.
He said the local administration had completely failed to ensure safe departure of the devotees for which the state government was responsible.
Similarly, state Rashtriya Lok Dal president Munna Singh Chauhan held the state government responsible for the stampede. “It was just because of administrative slackness,” Chauhan said and demanded R 10 lakh each for the family members of the deceased. The party has also constituted a fact-finding committee for the tragedy.
Asking for a probe by a sitting judge of the high court, state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai said chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and urban development minister Azam Khan should concentrate more on relief operations than indulge in politicking over the issue. He said investigation by the revenue board chairman would not serve the purpose.
On her part, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati expressed grief over the tragedy.