Morbi Bridge collapse exposes chinks in BJP’s Gujarat fortress
By Manish Anand
New Delhi, November 1: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday visited Morbi, met relatives of victims and injured, and called for an extensive enquiry into the mishap. The matter has also reached the doors of the Supreme Court, while the Opposition has pounced on the Modi model of development in Gujarat.
The administration has so far given a toll tally of 135, which includes 40 women and 34 children, while two persons are still stated to be missing, with apprehensions that bodies may be lying on the floor of the Machchu River, with the rescue operations still being carried out. Modi presided over a couple of meetings to take stock of the situation and visited the hospital, which was widely covered by the television media.
While Congress has been hesitant in attacking Modi and the Bharatiya Janata party over the Morbi Bridge mishap, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stepped up attack. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the mishap was the result of a massive corruption. He also accused the television media for seeking to divert the attention of the people from the mishap. The AAP has launched full throttle attack on the BJP over the mishap, which has come under wide condemnation for the apathy of the local administration for allowing the bridge to be opened up without the safety audit, while it was being maintained by a company which is best known for wall watches.
While AAP is stepping up the heat on the BJP, Congress, which is the principal rival in Gujarat of the ruling party, has been hesitant. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to a pointed question on Monday has said that he would not seek to politicize the mishap, “which will be disrespectful of the deceased”. However, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge sought to pitch in after seeing that the AAP was running away with the anti-BJP plank, as the newly-elected chief of the Opposition party said that “dates for the Gujarat elections are not being announced to allow time to Modi to inaugurate bridges like Morbi”.
The Morbi Bridge collapse has landed ammunitions in the hands of the Opposition to fire on the BJP citadel of over three decades in Gujarat where the saffron outfit has over the years built a grand plank of “Modi model of development’. The Trinamool Congress, which had been sedated since the arrest of Partha Chatterjee by the Enforcement Directorate, too jumped the fray and launched a scathing attack over the bridge collapse on the BJP. The TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh charged that “Gujarat has suffered the consequences of the sins of Modi”. He was countered by the West Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar, who reminded of mishaps in the state for which farcical inquiry had been held.
All indications suggest that the BJP will have to fend off the Opposition attacks in the coming days, as the Morbi Bridge collapse issue would remain fresh in the next few weeks by when the Election Commission would have announced the dates for the elections.