Sena fires at BJP from stam­pede’s shoul­ders

Mid Day - - #DEATHTRAP - DHAR­MEN­DRA JORE dhar­men­

A TRAGEDY that struck at El­phin­stone Road sta­tion has pro­vided the Shiv Sena a po­tent salvo to fire at its fren­emy ahead of its an­nual Dussehra rally. Ud­dhav Thack­eray is ex­pected to raise the 22 stam­pede deaths in his speech at Shivaji Park in an at­tempt to take the wind out of BJP’s in­flated sails. And the BJP doesn’t ap­pear to be in a po­si­tion to re­tort as far as fail­ure in man­ag­ing rail­ways is con­cerned.

…from all sides

It is not that the BJP gov­ern­ment alone is re­spon­si­ble for the mess that the city’s crowded net­work has be­come; the pre­vi­ous regimes too couldn’t achieve any­thing re­mark­able. However, BJP’s local lead­ers — in­cum­bent rail­way min­is­ter Piyush Goyal and his pre­de­ces­sor Suresh Prabhu — came un­der fire as they failed to give so­lu­tions de­spite re­peated pe­ti­tions.

Goyal was sched­uled to ded­i­cate 60 more ser­vices to the city on Fri­day with much fan­fare, but the stam­pede changed it all. Even as Sena work­ers shouted slo­gans against him at KEM Hos­pi­tal, de­mand­ing his res­ig­na­tion, a vis­i­bly dis­turbed Goyal told me­dia per­sons that he had asked the Com­mis­sioner for Rail­way Safety to con­duct an in­quiry, and asked for an au­dit of all foot over­bridges to check ca­pac­ity and sta­bil­ity.

Bat­ting for city net­work

Sena MP Arvind Sawant said, “I made an ap­peal in the Lok Sabha, ex­plained to the gov­ern­ment the bad state of af­fairs, but I was told there’s no money.”

An­other Sena MP, Rahul She­wale, said he had writ­ten to Prabhu on April 23, 2015, for widen­ing the foot over­bridges at twin sta­tions Parel and El­phin­stone Road.

Sena min­is­ter Ek­nath Shinde said, “Give more pow­ers to local au­thor­i­ties and im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions of Kakod­kar Com­mit­tee that asks for more safety for com­muters.”

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