A war of words between the TMC and BJP over the triple train accident in Odisha’s Balasore intensified Sunday, with TMC reiterating its demand for the resignation of railway minister Ashwani Vaishnaw and BJP reminding the party that railway accidents had occurred during Mamata Banerjee term as railway minister.
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh tweeted Sunday, that the Balasore train pile up reveals that anti-collision devices have not been fitted to trains and cannot be compared to an accident which happened during Banerjee’s watch at Rail Bhavan.
"The Balasore train accident must not be conflated with the Jnaneswari Express derailment incident – the former exposes the lack of anti-collision devices, while the latter involved Maoist activities, which, thanks to Hon'ble CM @MamataOfficial's proactive measures and strategic approach, are a thing of the past," Ghosh tweeted.
The TMC had made the demand for Vaishnaw’s resignation on Saturday, to which an angry BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari had retorted on his twitter handle "FYI: Pishi (Aunt) as Railway Minister after a train accident:- "Kabhi kabhi kaam karne se human error ho jata hai" (Sometimes human error occurs when people work) ... People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones & here you are throwing stones from inside your glass house." On Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Chairperson Mamata Banerjee, who is a former railway minister, flew to the accident site and demanded a proper investigation. “This is the biggest train accident of this century and a proper investigation must be conducted,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief told reporters. "Something must be behind this. The truth must come out. Why didn't the anti-collision system work?" Banerjee had said.
The railways have said that "Kavach" - the automatic train protection system - was not available on the route where the accident occurred on Friday evening.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar told reporters on Sunday that the enquiry into the accident would unravel the truth.
"I have already spoken to the Railway minister. I think there is more than what meets the eye in the mishap. There can be an element of suspicion," he said.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Sunday "The enquiry into the accident has been completed and as soon as the commissioner of railway safety (CRS) provides his report all the details will be known”.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen told PTI, “Sukanta Majumdar is trying to deflect attention from the glaring lapse of the Railway ministry. He cannot divert the focus from the main issue – how did such a mishap occur despite tall talks over introducing high speed trains connecting different cities. He cannot fool people by floating conspiracy theory.” Expressing dismay over the war of words between BJP and TMC, CPI(M) Central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said "when nearly 300 persons have perished in one of the biggest train tragedies in the country, the least one can expect from politicians is a little bit of sensitivity towards the families of the victims and members of general public." "What is needed the most is standing by the grieving families. Not to indulge in mud slinging and blame game," he said.
The Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Super Fast Express and a goods train were involved in the pile-up, now being described as one of India’s worst train accidents.
The Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary goods train, derailing most of its coaches at around 7 pm Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station. A few coaches of Coromandel Express whiplashed the last few coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express which was passing by at the same time.
Investigators are looking into human error, signal failure and other possible causes behind the three-train crash.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.