New Delhi: Striking a different note from
his ally BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today came in
defence of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee over the Delhi
railway station stampede incident, saying the decision to
change the platform for a train is not taken by "a minister".
Kumar, who was Railway Minister during 2001-2004,
pointed out that such incidents took place earlier too and it
was responsibility of the railway officials concerned to use
their past experience and act accordingly in case it was
necessary to bring a sudden change in the platform for arrival
or departure of any train.
"I don`t think that a decision to change platform (for
a train) is taken by (Railway) Minister," Kumar said, adding,
it was too far-fetched to imagine that such matters reach the
"If a last minute decision to change platform is
taken, it creates problems. Normally platforms should not be
changed and if it is done, people (passengers) should have
been given adequate time (to move). As, the moment the
platform is changed, it prompts a sudden rush," the JD(U)
Describing the incident as "unfortunate", Kumar,
however, made it clear that he did not have any specific
knowledge about what exactly led to the stampede at Delhi
Railway station, saying whatever he knew was reported in
"... such incidents took place earlier too. On the
basis of past experience, (concerned railway) official should
look into this...," he said making it clear that he was not
commenting on the incident as the Chief Minister of Bihar but
a former Railway Minister.
The BJP had criticised Banerjee over the stampede
yesterday, saying nothing better could be expected from an
"absentee" Railway Minister.
The party had also said that Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh owed an explanation about the "indifference and
absenteeism" of the Railway Minister.