Congress Demands Railway Minister’s Resignation Over Odisha Train Accident


New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday demanded the resignation of railway minster Ashwini Vaishnaw and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Friday’s train disaster in Odisha, accusing the government of ignoring several safety recommendations.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress member of Parliament (MP) Shaktisinh Gohil and the party’s media department head Pawan Khera also accused the rail ministry of “mismanagement and ignorance”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a ‘kavach’ (shield) that protects him from a variety of issues but the people who died in the Coromandel Express did not have such protection. Even Lal Bahadur Shastri, Madhavrao Scindia, and Nitish Kumar resigned as railway ministers after train disasters. But any resignation is out of the question right now,” said Pawan Khera.

He accused Vaishnaw of doing “publicity stunts” instead of “resigning” and urged PM Modi to keep his “promise” of ‘stringent punishment’ for those responsible for the disaster.

“The rail minister can’t show 5-6 Vande Bharat trains and show that this is the reality of the Indian railways. Will the Prime Minister take cognizance of the deadliest rail incident of our era and take the resignation from Union rail minister Ashwini Vaishanv?” Khera added.

Khera also said that a 2022 Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on “Derailments in Indian Railways” had flagged multiple shortcomings and made several recommendations, which included the suggestion to ensure strict adherence to the scheduled timelines for conducting and finalising accident inquiries.

Shaktisinh Gohil said, “Any compensation over the Odisha rail disaster is not enough. Even after several recommendations by several committees no action was taken by the PM Modi government and in 2018 the independent commission on rail safety was not kept independent anymore and was handed over to the rail ministry. The people who took these decisions too are directly responsible for this tragedy.”

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