NEW DELHI: India’s opposition party Congress on Sunday demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw over the Odisha rail tragedy, alleging that his "PR gimmicks" overshadowed the "serious deficiencies, criminal negligence and complete disregard for safety and security" of Indian Railways, report agencies.
The opposition party also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should accept part of the responsibility of the "mess" which his government has inflicted on the Indian Railways and the people.
Prime Minister Modi, who has announced that the guilty would be punished, must first start with his Railway Minister, Khera said. "Unequivocally and unambiguously we demand the resignation of the Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Nothing short of it," he said.
Earlier, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh alleged that railway safety had been compromised in the PR campaign of the prime minister and the railway minister. Addressing a press conference, Congress MP Shaktisinh and Khera posed questions to the government and asked when will PM Modi demand the resignation from his Railway Minister Vaishnaw.
PM Modi, himself is responsible for a green-flagging spree of Vande Bharat Express trains. He himself is responsible for creating this 'all is well' facade in the Indian Railways, even as crucial, sensitive, and critical infrastructure of the Indian Railway languishes in neglect, Gohil and Khera said in their statement.
We demand that despite multiple warnings by the CAG, Parliamentary Standing Committees, and experts - why did the Modi government not spend on sprucing up Railway Safety they said.
Who is responsible for the deadliest rail tragedy in independent India, Gohil and Khera asked.
The Congress leaders also asked when will the Modi government implement the much-hyped KAVACH Anti-Collision system nationwide, after testing.
Gohil and Khera asked when will the government pump more funds in the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) and fill up the three lakh plus vacant positions in the Indian Railways.
The crash involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, which were carrying around 2,500 passengers, and a goods train occurred around 7 pm on Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore. At least 288 people were dead and over 1,100 injured in the accident.