The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Saturday lashed out at Trinamool Congress leader and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee over the West Bengal train tragedy, saying she was seeking to shield the real culprits, suspected to be Maoists, with an eye on the upcoming civic polls in the state.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, in a hard-hitting statement, charged the railway minister of "cynically using" the train tragedy, in which more than 100 people were killed, for "petty partisan interests".
"The union railway minister is seeking to cover up for the serious lapses of her leadership in the railway ministry and its failings in this tragic episode," he said.
He said Banerjee and sections of the pro-Trinamool Congress intellectuals in West Bengal were using the situation for partisan politics to "influence public opinion on the eve of the municipality elections in West Bengal".
"Instead of joining the collective efforts to provide relief and assistance to the victims of the recent ghastly rail accident in West Midnapore, sections of the pro-Trinamool Congress intellectuals in West Bengal have mounted an absurd and insidious charge against the CPI-M and the Left Front government that they conspired to cause this accident," Yechury said.
"This is reminiscent of Hitler and Nazi fascists setting the German Reichstag on fire and arresting Dimitrov, General Secretary of the Communist International on that charge. This was followed by a general witch-hunt against the Communists in Germany," the CPI-M politburo member said.
What is more surprising is that the union railway minister has virtually echoed similar charges against the CPI-M and the Left Front government in West Bengal, Yechury said.
"As the railway minister it is her basic duty, to be discharged under the oath of our Constitution that she took while assuming office, to inform the country about the ministry’s preliminary observations on the cause of the accident."
"She has rather chosen to shield the actual culprits by suggesting that the Maoists may not be behind the sabotage. This is indeed strange that she is saying all this while continuing to demand a CBI enquiry when the state government has already initiated a CID enquiry," he said.
He said the railway minister continues to maintain that there was a blast that led to the derailment, while the union home minister has denied that possibility.
"It is clear that the union railway minister is seeking to cover up for the serious lapses of her leadership in the railway ministry and its failings in this tragic episode. During the five months of this year the number of major railway accidents has been more than in any calendar year since 1980," he said.
"It is indeed tragic that instead of joining the country in the wake of a national tragedy these elements are cynically using the situation to further their petty partisan interests.
"All this is being done in order to influence public opinion on the eve of the municipality elections in West Bengal.
"The politically conscious people of West Bengal will surely see through this conspiracy and give a fitting rebuff to these diabolical designs," he added.