A political blame game erupted on Thursday soon after an under-construction flyover collapsed on to vehicles and street vendors, killing at least 22 people in a busy area of the West Bengal capital.
Though some political leaders said there should be no politicking over the tragedy, others attacked the Mamata Banerjee-led government over the incident.
“Urban development minister Firhad Hakim has to say how much bribe he received for allowing sub-standard material that led to the collapse. He should be arrested immediately,” state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who suspended her election campaign in West Midnapore district and rushed back tried to take the fight back to Kolkata, said:
“Construction began on flyover during CPI(M) time; not our time. We have cancelled all our election meetings and have come here.”
The Left Front was quick to counter her. “The obvious question is: which part of the flyover has collapsed -- the portion built during the Left regime, or the part built under the Trinamool government. This is being used as an excuse to escape responsibility. We are condemning it,” read a statement issued by the LF chairman Biman Bose.
Asok Bhattacharya, CPI(M) leader and former urban development minister, said the blame must be shouldered by Hakim during whose tenure almost the entire construction took place.
“There should be a high-level inquiry. I have no responsibility. The present urban development minister has to shoulder responsibility,” said Bhattacharya.
Hakim is known to be close to the chief minister. He was also allegedly seen accepting cash in a recently released sting video.
Blaming the state government, Union minister of state for urban development, Babul Supriyo, said: “The construction work of the flyover was carried on in an unscientific manner. The state administration clearly did not take any lesson even after the collapse of Ultadanga flyover three years ago.”