West Bengal Rail Accident: Is he the Railway Minister or the 'Reel Minister', Ashwini Vaishnav should resign… Congress fired sharp arrows at Modi government with 7 questions

Ananya Shroff
6 Min Read
West Bengal Rail Accident: Is he the Railway Minister or the 'Reel Minister', Ashwini Vaishnav should resign… Congress fired sharp arrows at Modi government with 7 questions

New Delhi: Accusing the Modi government of ruining the Indian Railways, the Congress on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in the wake of the Kanchenjunga Express accident. The Congress also said that he has no moral right to continue in the post. The opposition party also took a dig at Vaishnaw for reaching the accident site riding pillion on a motorcycle and asked whether he is the Railway Minister or the 'real minister'. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that whenever there is a train accident, the Modi government's Railway Minister reaches the spot under the light of cameras and behaves as if everything is fine.

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'Who should be held accountable, the Railway Minister or Modi?'

  1. The Congress president asked, 'Narendra Modi ji, tell us who should be held accountable for this, the Railway Minister or you?' Kharge asked 7 questions to the government and demanded answers. He asked why the range of the much talked about 'Kavach' train collision prevention system was not extended even by one kilometer after a major accident like Balasore?
  2. The Congress president asked, 'There are about three lakh vacancies in the railways, why have they not been filled in the last 10 years? According to the NCRB (2022) report, 1,00,000 people have died in rail accidents between 2017 and 2021 alone! Who will take responsibility for this?'
  3. He said the Railway Board itself has admitted that long working hours of engine drivers due to acute shortage of manpower is the main reason for the increasing number of accidents. He asked why these posts are not being filled.
  4. Kharge asked, 'The Standing Committee of Parliament in its 323rd report had criticised the Railways for the 'neglect' shown by the Railway Board towards the recommendations of the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS). It was underlined that the CRS investigates only 8 to 10 per cent of accidents, why was the CRS not strengthened?'
  5. He asked why, according to CAG, there was a 75 per cent cut in the 'Rashtriya Rail Suraksha Kosh' (RRSK) when Rs 20,000 crore was supposed to be given every year. Kharge further asked why this money was being used by railway officials on unnecessary expenses and luxuries?
  6. Kharge said, “Why has travelling in general sleeper class in trains become so expensive? Why has the number of sleeper coaches been reduced? The Railway Minister recently said that police force should be used against those who 'overcrowd' train coaches. But does he not know that last year 2.7 crore people had to cancel their tickets due to acute shortage of seats – which is a direct result of the Modi government's policy of reducing the number of coaches?”
  7. He asked whether the Modi government merged the rail budget with the general budget in 2017-18 to escape any accountability? “Self-praise will not erase the criminal negligence of the Modi government on Indian Railways! Accountability needs to be fixed at the top level,” Kharge said in a post on 'X'.

Congress is laying siege to BJP

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said as far as the middle class, lower middle class and the poor are concerned, railways is probably the most preferred mode of transport, as it is the most economical mode of transport. Showing pictures of the rail accident in Balasore in June last year and the accident on Monday, she asked what has changed during this time. Shrinate said there have been 1,117 rail accidents between 2014-23, that is, one accident every three days. Asked if the Congress demands Vaishnav's resignation, Shrinate said, “There is no doubt about it. A sensitive and accountable government will fix the accountability of every minister and every department. Why did 1,117 rail accidents happen in nine years from 2014 to 2023? Who is accountable for this?”

'How will people trust the government?'

Srinet said, 'From Balasore in June last year to June this year, what did Ashwini Vaishnav do to modernise the railways as well as make it safe? Unless you fix responsibility, unless you fix accountability, how will people trust the governance, how will people know that they will be safe while travelling in the railways.' He said, 'Absolutely, without any doubt, without blinking an eye, Ashwini Vaishnav has no moral right to continue in the post he is enjoying.'

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