Kolkata, Apr 1: A war of words erupted today over the flyover collapse between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP with Union Minister M A Naqvi accusing the state government of "criminal negligence", which the TMC described as "cheap politics".
Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, said that the TMC government showed "criminal negligence" in ensuring relief work and engaging in a "competition on corruption" with the previous Left Front government which had resulted in the flyover collapse claiming 24 lives.
TMC national spokesperson Derek O' Brien termed Naqvi's statements as "cheap politics" in the election season. "The chief minister and the ruling Trinamool Congress have indulged in petty politics of accusing the previous Left Front government. It is not the time to accuse the previous government.
If the previous Left Front government had indulged in corruption, then why didn't the TMC government stop it after coming to power? It seems a competition on corruption was on between the two.
And the flyover collapse is a result of it," Naqvi told reporters here. "We feel that the state government was casual in its approach in conducting the relief work.
Had they been more pro-active, the relief work could have started much earlier. It is a clear case of criminal negligence on the part of the state government," Naqvi said.
Brien countered Naqvi's comment by saying that the Army belongs to the nation and not to the BJP. "Just saw a BJP Minister's statement. Reeks of cheap politics in election season.
Army came at state's request. Army belongs to nation, not the BJP," Brien said. The death toll in the tragedy rose to 24 as three more bodies were recovered from under the debris of concrete and iron girders.
About a 60-metre portion of the flyover under construction came down a little after noon yesterday. Naqvi also reiterated the demand for a CBI probe into the collapse.
"We feel that a CBI inquiry should be ordered in order to book the culprits. All the culprits, however big they may be, should be arrested. The state should request for a CBI inquiry.
This incident is a clear case of rampant corruption in the construction of the bridge, Naqvi said.