IN a shocking example of insensitivity, a spokesperson from the ruling BJP has sensationally blamed the victims of Mumbai’s foot overbridge collapse for their deaths and injuries. Sanju Verma made the shocking observations while taking part in a TV debate on Times Now channel.
She said, “I would not agree to the fact that there is a governance deficit. Could this have been avoided. Perhaps yes.” When reminded about the existing gap in the bridge posing danger to people’s safety, Verma responded with a shocking reply, “I have been closely monitoring this and as you rightly pointed out, there have been two major bridge collapses in Mumbai Elphinstone one and the Gokhale Bridge in July 2018. I know you will not agree with this but the fact remains in both the cases 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.”
As expected, her comments left both the anchor of the show and fellow guests in utter shock. But the controversial spokesperson, known for making factually inaccurate and objectionable comments on LIVE TV, did not stop here. She went on to call the Thursday’s collapse of Mumbai’s bridge a ‘natural calamity.’
The collapse of the foot overbridge connecting Mumbai’s iconic CSMT railway station had left five people killed 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.
A large part of the blame was on the pedestrians: @Sanju_Verma_, Leader, BJP while speaking to @navikakumar | #MumbaiBridgeCollapse pic.twitter.com/FUrSsYa7R1
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) March 14, 2019
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had tweeted, “Deeply saddened to learn about the #MumbaiBridgCollapse where several people are still reportedly trapped. My deepest condolences to the families of innocent victims of this terrible tragedy. Hope administration takes swift action & provides urgent medical help to injured.Modi Govt & Mah. Govt are criminally culpable for inaction leading to repeat tragedies-:29/9/2017-Elphistone Stampede.3/7/2018-Andheri Bridge Collapse.Rly Min’s tall claims of Audit have failed time and again.Rly Min, Piyush Goyal must resign or be sacked.”
Sanju Verma had famously blamed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for making decisions on soldiers’ socks a year 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.