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Odisha Train Accident: Railway Ministers Who Have Resigned On 'Moral Grounds' After Such Mishaps

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday said the country has never seen a bigger train accident than the Odisha tragedy in which at least 261 people were killed, and said that railway ministers used to resign after such accidents in the past but nobody was talking about it now

Odisha Train Accident
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After one of the worst railway tragedies of the country on Friday night that killed at least 261 people and injured nearly 1,000, demands of resignation of India's Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw have risen. 

TMC's national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee alleged that the Centre was spending crores of rupees on software to spy on opposition leaders while neglecting the installation of anti-collision devices in trains to prevent such accidents.

Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday said the country has never seen a bigger train accident than the Odisha tragedy in which at least 261 people were killed, and said that railway ministers used to resign after such accidents in the past but nobody was talking about it now.

Here are some other incidents where railway ministers have quit in the country:

In the August of 1956, there was a major railway accident in Mahbubnagar, Andhra Pradesh, killing as many as 112 people. Taking moral responsibility for the accident, Lal Bahadur Shastri tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru but the latter persuaded him to withdraw his resignation.

Barely few months later in November, a train accident in Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu killed at least 150 people. Lal Bahadur Shastri tendered his resignation which was then accepted.

In August 1999, the then railway minister Nitish Kumar resigned, taking moral responsbility for the Gaisal train disaster. Two trains carrying about 2,500 people collided at the remote station of Gaisal in West Bengal. Owing to a signalling error, both trains were using the same track on a day when three of the four tracks on the line were closed for maintenance. He is only the second railway minister after Shastri to give his resignation.

Inn 2000, Mamata Banerjee had resigned from her post taking moral responsibility after two train disasters in the same year. However, then Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee rejected her resignation.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, in 2016, Suresh Prabhu offered to resign taking moral responsibility for two train derailments in a span of four days - Kaifiyat Express and Puri-Utkal Express. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to wait, but Prabhu stepped down next month. Around 150 people were killed when 14 coaches of Patna-Indore express got derailed near Kanpur. This was considered as one of the deadliest rail mishaps since 1999.

Prabhu's resignation was however, not accepted at the time. He was subsequently was moved to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and replaced by Piyush Goyal.

(With inputs from PTI)

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