In West Bengal to address rallies in support of his party candidate, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Saturday visited the site where under-construction Vivekananda flyover collapsed on Thursday killing 27 people. He also met some of the injured people at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital and said he had come to extend support to the victims and did not want to politicise the issue.
“There has been a tragedy here. I have come here to give them whatever little support I can provide,” Gandhi said after meeting the injured in the hospital.
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When asked to comment on the allegations of lapses in the construction of the flyover, Gandhi said, “I have come here to meet the injured. I’ll not talk about politics.”
Gandhi, accompanied by state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and party leader Deepa Dasmunsi, reached the flyover collapse site in North Kolkata. He spent just about five minutes at the site, which has been cordoned off, talking to the NDRF officials before leaving for Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
An official at the hospital said Rahul inquired about the condition of the injured.
“He came here and enquired about the condition of the injured and also spoke to doctors,” the official said.
“At the flyover collapse site, he inquired about the progress of the rescue and relief work,” a rescue official said.
Refusing to make any “political” statements, Rahul left to address rallies in Durgapur, Bankura and Burdwan districts. Incidentally, he raised the issue at all the rallies and accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of negligence.
“People have died, TMC did not suffer any loss,” he said, addressing an election meeting at Niyamatpur in Burdwan district, and added that TMC men had got the work contract for the flyover.
Meanwhile, the Burrabazar area remained closed for the second day in a row with most shops remaining shut. Shambu Mandal, a resident and an employee at a pharmacy store in the area, said Rahul Gandhi should have made a statement. “He came, saw the area and went away. Why didn’t he talk to the press? Why didn’t he talk to any of us? He should have. Why did he come otherwise?”he asked.
Om Prakash Jaiswal, a 62-year-old parking attendant, who survived after being trapped inside a car he was parking when the flyover collapsed, is now one of the many residents of the area helping police officials man the barricades preventing people from entering.
“Today, these Congress leaders came. There were other party’s leader who had come yesterday. They should not politicise such a tragedy.
They are doing this because the elections are here. Lives have been lost and this is insensitive. No matter who comes, people will vote for who they have already been voting for. Accident or no accident. This is a Trinamool area and people will vote for the it despite the collapse,” Jaiswal said.