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Politicos visit Kalka Mail victims

Politicians are making a beeline for hospitals tending to people injured in the Kalka Mail accident on Sunday. Haidar Naqvi reports.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2011 02:01 IST
Haidar Naqvi

Politicians are making a beeline for hospitals tending to people injured in the Kalka Mail accident on Sunday.

People picking up the pieces of their lives are describing most of the visits as a political pilgrimage with an eye on next year’s Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

Though the injured have been cold to many high-profile visitors, several of them responded warmly to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital here on Tuesday. Many of the injured unburdened their pain and sorrow before him.

“Where does it pain? Do you know me?” Gandhi asked Nizamuddin, 14. “Yes, I know you,” said the boy, whose legs were nearly crushed in the accident at Malwan, 70km west of Kanpur, in which 71 people died and 350 were injured.

Arriving at the hospital around 11am, Gandhi spent around 45 minutes seeing 62 survivors and assuring them of help. Waiting for Gandhi to leave, former BJP president Rajnath Singh and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti deferred their visit to the hospital thrice.

The two BJP leaders arrived 20 minutes after Gandhi left. Bharti cuddled the children, wept and consoled the survivors.

Bharti hit out at Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, saying she used the railway ministry to serve her political interests. Singh and Bharti then left for Fatehpur, about 90 km away, to meet around 250 survivors.

Leaders from the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party also visited the hospitals.