Bengal’s leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari went to Odisha’s Balasore on Sunday to meet the survivors of the tragic triple-train accident, but ended up repeatedly criticising chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her government.
“We are against politicising such devastations. But Mamata Banerjee has solved the investigation (into this Friday train accident) even before the investigation was done.... With the railway minister by her side, she said that there was no (anti-collision) device. This should not have been the case. The chief minister should have left the matter to the investigators,” Adhikari said at a news meet in Balasore.
Reacting to Trinamul national secretary-general Abhishek Banerjee demanding the resignation of Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw — which Mamata said she wasn’t not demanding — Adhikari said that two major train accidents had occurred during the Trinamul supremo’s tenure as railway minister.
“Did she resign after those accidents?” Adhikari asked, referring to the Gaisal (1999) and Jnaneswari (2010) tragedies.
He claimed that three IAS officers from Bengal deputed at the Balasore Hospital were transferring the injured to Bengal even if they were unwell.
“Before I reached, nine patients who were seriously injured had been shifted.... One cannot get proper treatment in Bengal. Thousands of doctors’ posts are vacant. Lakhs of nurses’ and health workers’ posts are vacant. There is no orthopaedic machine either in Midnapore Medical College or any district hospital..... These patients are being forcefully taken to Bengal amid such conditions. This should stop,” he said, adding many from Bengal take trains to other states in search of work and better healthcare since both are lacking in Bengal.
Many in the BJP state unit who lauded Adhikari’s initiative to send 10 ambulances to the accident site on June 2, frowned at his attack on Sunday on Bengal amid the state’s crisis mitigation on a war footing.
Without naming Adhikari, Mamata said: “Let the Prime Minister speak, I will reply. Why will I reply to these insignificant small fries who do not know a thing?”
“It is a shame on our country that names of such people (Adhikari) have to be mentioned,” the Bengal chief minister added.
Mamata claimed that during her visit to the accident site on Saturday, some BJP workers raised “party slogans”. She said she found it distasteful, given the occasion.
Trinamul sources said some BJP workers raised “Jai Shri Ram” slogans at Balasore during Mamata’s visit.
“BJD supporters were there, they didn’t do it. Our people were there, they didn’t do it either. Four-five small fries of the BJP were raising their party slogan there. Can you imagine?” Mamata said.