Attributing the terror attack in Varanasi to security lapses and intelligence failure, opposition parties on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati.
A day after the blast in the eastern Uttar Pradesh town claimed the life of a two-year-old girl and injured over 20, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) trained their guns on the chief minister and blamed her for the terror strike.
"Though a terror outfit has taken responsibility of the attack, it all took place due to the irresponsible behaviour of the state government. Mayawati must accept that the attack exposes the poor law and order arrangements in the state and resign from her post," BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi said in Varanasi, about 300 km from Lucknow.
"In the last few months, the media reported about possible terror strikes in parts of Uttar Pradesh but the government preferred looking the other way. No special arrangements were made by Mayawati and that was exposed in the Tuesday's blast," he added.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary agreed.
"Mayawati has no moral right to continue as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh... Her tall claims to provide a secure atmosphere to the people of the state have now been exposed," Chaudhary told reporters.
"In the past also, terror strikes have taken place in Varanasi. But the government failed to learn any lesson; as a result, Varanasi again became the target of anti-national forces," he added.
Uttar Pradesh's Congress unit said the terror attack exposed the security arrangements Mayawati claimed were in place in connection with the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque Dec 6.
A toddler was killed and over 20 people, including a few foreigners, were injured when a bomb exploded on the banks of the Ganga during 'maha aarti' watched by hundreds and sparked off a stampede.
The Indian Mujahideen, in an e-mail, claimed responsibility for the blast.
Swastika Sharma succumbed to multiple splinter injuries and was pronounced dead by doctors following the blast on the cemented steps leading to the holy river at the Dashashwamedh Ghat.