Opposition jibe at Mamata, Minister not impressed

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed anguish over criticism by some non-UPA parties that she was busy with West Bengal politics at the cost of her ministry.

Kolkata: Railway Minister Mamata
Banerjee has expressed anguish over criticism by some non-UPA
parties that she was busy with West Bengal politics at the
cost of her ministry.

"The railway minister does not run trains, but gives
policy direction. She has exposed corruption, tried to stop
privatisation, therefore a campaign is being built against
her," a source close to her said.

Parties like BJP, CPI-M and LJP targetted Banerjee
following the Sainthia train accident that claimed 66 lives,
accusing her of being busy with West Bengal politics at the
cost of her ministry.

On criticism that the safety record was at its
worst during her tenure, the source said that over 27,000
people lost their lives in train accidents during the tenures
of C K Jaffer Sharif, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, while
during Banerjee`s term, 518 people were killed.

"We did not have any intention to make a comparative
study of tragic deaths, but because of the despicable
propaganda of the CPI-M and BJP, we had to resort to such
statistics," the source said.

Trinammol Congress was also critical of the CPI-M for
resorting to blockades of train tracks on numerous occasions,
including at four places today.

"Let CPI-M fight us politically," the Trinamool source
said.

After the July 19 accident, BJP spokesperson Tarun
Vijay said, "Mamata Banerjee should concentrate on railways.
If she is using the railways as a platform for politics in
West Bengal, it is better to make her a minister without
portfolio."

On the other hand, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said,
"You have a minister whose attention is elsewhere and the
country is paying the price for that."

LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said in Patna that Banerjee
will have to "make a choice as to whether she wants to be
Railway Minister or do West Bengal politics. Both cannot
go together. The loss of so many lives in every three months
is not tolerable."

PTI

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