‘Doing his best’: Former Prime Minister on Opp's demand for Vaishnaw's resignation after Odisha train accident
Opposition parties have sought Vaishnaw's resignation in the wake of the disastrous triple train accident in Odisha, which claimed lives of at least 278 people.
Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw - under fire after a horrific three-train collision in Odisha last week killed nearly 300 people - found unexpected support Tuesday from ex-prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) boss HD Deve Gowda, who chided opposition parties for demanding he resign.
Deve Gowda said he believed Vaishnaw is doing his best and that calls for his resignation are 'not wise'. The opposition - which has also criticised the decision to hand over inquiries to the Central Bureau of Investigation - has also accused the central government of ignoring safety red flags.
"(The) railway minister has taken necessary steps to restore damage that happened. He is working tirelessly (for the last) last 55 hours… I am watching. The inquiry by CBI is different… I am not going to comment on that… Congress leaders have taken some stand. My point is that politically motivated attacks shouldn't be made. Let the inquiry be completed. The minister is doing his best and demanding his resignation at this stage is not wise." Deve Gowda was quoted by news agency ANI.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called the accident the 'biggest of the century' and has asked for an investigation into the absence of an anti-collision system on the trains.
Opposition parties criticise railway minister, government
Apart from demanding Vaishnaw resign, the Congress has also called on prime minister Narendra Modi to acknowledge responsibility for 'perpetuating an illusion of normalcy despite the deteriorating condition of Indian Railways infrastructure, which has been ignored and neglected'.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said he had resigned after an accident in Bengal's Gaisal.
"A train accident took place in West Bengal when I was railway minister. I immediately asked then-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to accept my resignation. I will not comment if Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw should resign or not,” the Janata Dal (United) chief said.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said Vaishnaw had to resign on moral grounds and cited the example of another ex-railway minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, resigning after an accident.
The Odisha train crash
At least 278 people were killed and over 1,000 injured after a crash involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, and a goods train.