Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan arrive to take stock of the situation at the Balasore train accident site on Saturday. The major accident that occurred on Friday night compromised three trains Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and a goods train | Photo: ANI
New Delhi: The BJP on Sunday asked opposition parties to not politicise the Balasore train accident and said the track record of the Congress-led UPA government's railway ministers was nothing short of a disaster.
BJP IT department head Amit Malviya shared on Twitter what he said were the details of accidents under these ministers and added such "worthies" are the ones demanding the resignation of the "most qualified" railway minister the country has had in seven and half decades.
The Congress had earlier demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he should accept part of the responsibility for creating an all is well facade even as the critical infrastructure of the Indian Railways "languishes in neglect".
Hitting back, Malviya said, "Stop politicising the unfortunate Balasore tragedy because track record of railway ministers, under the UPA, to put it mildly, was nothing short of disaster. Let us focus on relief and rescue operation and putting life and rail back on track, at the earliest."
Under Mamata Banerjee as railway minister, 1,451 people died in 54 cases of collisions and 839 incidents of train derailments, he said. Death toll was 1,159 when Lalu Yadav was the minister while the corresponding figure for Nitish Kumar was 1,527.
Yadav was the minister in the first term of the UPA government while Kumar was at the helm during the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
This is the report card of those demanding resignation, Malviya said.
Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee has been vocal in slamming the government over the accident.
Malviya alleged, "Banerjee's rise in politics has been over dead bodies. From Singur to post poll violence of 2021, all she has done is - indulged in dirty politics of death and destruction."
He posted a video in which Vaishnaw is seen clarifying to her on the accident site on Saturday after she suggested that the death toll could be as high as 500.
"That is Mamata Banerjee - petty and petulant," Malviya said.
The BJP leader said the Indian Railways has taken several measures for passengers' safety in the last few years.
This includes record work for maintenance and renewal of tracks while all unmanned level crossings on broad gauge route have been eliminated.
The installation of the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) or 'Kavach' on the railway routes is proceeding quickly, he said, citing other measures as well.
The Railway Board has recommended a CBI probe into the Balasore train accident that has so far claimed 275 lives.