Oppn demands Prabhu’s head, Jaitley says PM will decide

Krishnanand Tripathi
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

The fate of India’s low profile Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu who was tasked by Prime Minister Modi to overhaul India’s vast but decrepit British era rail network hangs in balance as the opposition party Congress sought his resignation for multiple rail accidents in recent times.

Suresh Prabhu Wednesday met Prime Minister Modi and took full responsibility for the spate of accidents as two trains derailed in Uttar Pradesh this week resulting in death of 22 people and injuries to scores others in less than a week.

Union minister Arun Jaitley today said the prime minister will take a decision on whatever “request” Suresh Prabhu has made, hours after the railway minister indicated that he has offered to quit.

Asked for his reaction to the indication by Prabhu that he had offered to quit taking moral responsibility for train accidents at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley told reporters that the prime minister will take a decision “on whatever request the railway minister has made”.

This development comes at a time when the Congress has stepped its attack on NDA over failure of governance be it train accidents due to human errors or death of dozens of infants and kids in Gorakhpur hospital due to shortage of supply.

Incidently two of the latest rail derailments and deaths of infant occured in the BJP ruled and politically most significant state Uttar Pradesh providing an opportunity to the principal opposition party Congress to target the NDA governments at the centre and at the state.

Congress said Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu of having “utterly failed” in his job and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack him and appoint a “responsible person” in the position.

This “responsibility business” would not do, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while stressing that Prabhu had to resign.

Surjewala was referring to Prabhu’s tweet that he took “full moral responsibility” for the recent train accidents and indicating that he had offered to resign at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Both Railways Ministry and BJP government in Uttar Pradesh have cracked whip on officials for their alleged failures. Railways replaced chairman of its board and sacked four officials.

Uttar Pradesh government shunted out an additional chief secretary level official and ordered registration of FIR against the principal of BRD medical college in Gorakhpur.

However, it has failed to satisfy the demand of opposition parties who have demanded resignation of Railway Minister and UP health minister.