Faced with public outrage, the BJP has disowned its ‘chief spokesperson’ in Maharashtra, Sanju Verma, for her controversial comments blaming victims of the Mumbai’s recent foot overbridge collapse. The tragedy had left at least five people killed and dozens injured.
Verma was taking part in a debate on Times Now TV channel when she stunned everyone with her hugely controversial comments. She had said, “I know you will not agree with this but the fact remains in both the cases (previous bridge collapse) a large part of the blame, for want of a better word, was on pedestrians who did not pay heed to the fact that there was a work in progress.”
Her comments evoked nationwide outrage with Twitterati erupting in anger. Sensing an adverse impact on its electoral chances in Maharashtra, the saffron party issued a statement on Friday disowning Verma. The party’s statement said, “Ms Sanju is not BJP spokesperson and your channel (Times Now) should not describe her so. The BJP has full sympathy for the victims of the calamity and with hundreds of thousands of pedestrians in the city.”
The party also requested Times Now to ‘use the services of Central System of BJP, Maharashtra to provide spokespersons and representatives for discussions so that such mistakes as stated above would not happen again.’
Contrary to the BJP’s claims that Verma is not its office-bearer, her Twitter continues to claim that she remains the saffron party’s ‘chief spokesperson’ in Maharashtra.
The collapse of the foot overbridge connecting Mumbai’s iconic CSMT railway station had left five people dead and more than 40 injured. From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, all had expressed their anguish over the tragedy. The Congress had demanded the sacking of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal arguing that this was not a tragedy in isolation.
Verma is known to make outrageous remarks, often bereft of facts, while taking part in public debates. In one such debate in the past, she had famously blamed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for making decisions on soldiers’ socks even after his death.
According to Verma, Nehru was responsible for sending the troops to 1965 war against Pakistan without wearing socks. She had thundered, “Now let me tell you. Who sent soldiers to war in 1965 without socks? Nehru! ” Little did the fiery BJP spokesperson realise that Nehru wasn’t alive for the 1965 war because the country’s first prime minister had died a year ago in 1964.