Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out the BJP-led government at the Centre over the Odisha triple train accident, claiming that the only ideology that it espouses is to make excuses not accept the reality.
The horrific collision and derailment, involving two passenger trains and a goods train, claimed the lives of 275 passengers and left over 1,000 injured.
Addressing the Indian diaspora in New York as part of his ongoing visit to the US, Rahul on Monday said in the wake of a similar train tragedy when the Congress was in power at the Centre, the then minister in charge of the Railways had owned moral responsibility and resigned.
"I remember a train accident when the Congress party was in power. The Congress did not say that the train crashed because of the fault of the British. The Congress minister (in charge of the Railways ministry at the time) said, 'It's my responsibility and I'm resigning'. So, this is the problem we have back home, we make excuses and do not accept the reality," the Congress leader said.
Rahul claimed further that the BJP was in the habit of not owning up to his mistakes and shift the blame, instead, to the Congress when questioned.
"You ask them (BJP) anything, they will look back and pass the blame. Ask them how the Odisha train accident happened. They will talk about what the Congress did 50 years ago," the Congress leader added.
The triple train accident involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and the goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar station in the Balasore district of Odisha.
Earlier, on Sunday, Rahul said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately seek the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in light of the Balasore train tragedy.
Stepping up his attack on the central government, he said in a tweet there was "no accountability even after 270+ deaths", adding, "The Modi government cannot run away from taking responsibility for such a painful accident. The Prime Minister should immediately seek the resignation of the Railway Minister!"
Senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, too, demanded the resignation of the Railways minister in the wake of the triple train tragedy in Odisha.
Expressing grief over the horrific incident on Friday evening, Singh told reporters, "How could such an incident have happened after the Railway minister said repeatedly that the system is fool-proof and no severe accident could ever happen. He (Ashwini Vaishnaw) is an ex-IAS officer of the Odisha cadre where this tragedy took place. There is a precedent of Lal Bahadur Shastri resigning as the Railways minister in the wake of a similar accident. "
"We don't expect this from PM Modi's cabinet. If he (Ashwini Vaishnaw) has any shame, he should step down immediately," the veteran Congress leader said.
On Saturday, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, too, hit out at Railways minister saying that "he should tender his resignation" taking moral responsibility for the loss of lives in the Balasore accident.
"The entire country is saddened by the incident. Do they have any morality or not? The BJP, which makes such tall claims on morality, should ask the minister to resign," the Congress leader said.
Without taking names, the Chhattisgarh CM said, "The BJP, which speaks so often about responsibility, should ask its minister to tender his resignation after this horrific train accident. The Railway minister had said a system had been introduced whereby if a train strays into a wrong track, it is stopped automatically at a distance of 400 metres from the other train. So, why couldn't this system prevent this accident in his state? Since our Railways minister is from Odisha, the onus is on him to take responsibiity for such a major incident and tender his resignation. However, it remains to be seen whether he will do so," Baghel said.
Expressing anguish over the incident, Baghel condoled the loss of lives in the accident and wished a speedy recovery of the injured.
Hitting back at Opposition leaders amid the demand for the Railway minister's sacking in the wake of the Balasore accident, the BJP said this wasn't the time to play politics over the loss of lives. (ANI)