Congress Attacks 'Reel Minister' Ashwini Vaishnaw, Modi Govt Over Kanchanjungha Express Accident

Launching a scathing attack at the Railways Ministry, the Congress raised questions over Vaishnaw's accountability and called him a "Reel minister".

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on his way to train accident site. Photo: PTI

The Kanchanjungha Express train accident, where at least nine persons died and several others injured, has become the new point of contention for the Opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in particular.

Launching a scathing attack at the Railways Ministry, the Congress raised questions over Vaishnaw's accountability and called him a "Reel minister".

Three rear coaches of the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjungha Express derailed after colliding with a goods train in West Bengal's Darjeeling district, killing at least nine people and injuring 41 others.

Vaishnaw, who visited the train accident site, told reporters, "Right now our focus is on restoration. This is the main line. The rescue operation has been completed. This is not the time for politics. I will also meet the injured."

Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge took a swipe at the Central government and said, "Whenever there is a train accident, Modi Govt's Railway Minister reaches the spot under the glare of cameras and behaves as if everything is fine."

Kharge asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whether he should be held responsible or the Railway Minister. "Self negligence will not undo the criminal negligence perpetrated by the Modi government on the Indian Railways! Accountability needs to be fixed at the top," he said in a post on X.

Kharge alleged that the Modi government in the past 10 years has indulged in "utter mismanagement" of the Railway Ministry. He said that the ministry has been turned into a platform of "'camera-driven' self-promotion".

Meanwhile, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari called for Vaishnaw's resignation and slammed the management of the Railway Ministry.

"Wrong management, wrong policy, wrong step are behind the rail accidents. The load on tracks has been increasing but there is no impetus on safety. The country had not recovered from the rail accident of Odisha and now this big accident has happened. The Rail Ministry is not able to manage. Railway Minister should resign," Tiwari told news agency PTI.

Congress Kerala's X account also shared a post slamming the NDA government and claimed that the BJP had "refused to send spokespersons to TV channels for prime time debates about the rail accident and the railway ministry's accountability", wherein the question of Vaishnaw's resignation is "inevitable".

Referring to the video of Vaishnaw taking a bike ride lift to get to the accident spot, the grand old party allegedly said that only "very few in the parivar are impressed with his bike ride PR at the accident site".

Congress Kerala claimed that NDA partners are "said to be upset with his elitist attitude towards managing the affordable public transport system of the Indian masses".

The party cited Bihar CM and NDA partner Nitish Kumar's "record of taking moral responsibility for a railway accident and resigning from the cabinet".

"Do you realise why they say 'success has many fathers and failure is an orphan', @AshwiniVaishnaw?" the grand old party said in its X post.

It also took a jibe at the coalition government and said, "Wanna try Bharat Mata Ki Jai as the last resort? Not that it helps in such dire 'coalition kinda' situations...Just saying."

(With agency inputs)