Our leaders behaved the worst in the Mumbai stampede aftermath

Social media has a wide reach, but it wasn't used by politicians to help the victims.

 |  3-minute read |   29-09-2017
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As Mumbai reeled under one more tragedy, leaders cutting across political lines did what they do best - politicking. While the Congress, NCP and even the Shiv Sena (an ally of the BJP) stood up as one to condemn the government, the BJP got busy defending the volleys and counter-attacking them. Sadly, none of them for once considered running to the victims' rescue or allaying fears and concerns.

Even before the injured could be taken to hospitals, politicians started tweeting, appearing on TV channels, and issuing statements against the BJP.

The blame for the Elphinstone Road stampede cannot be pinned on one party alone.The blame for the Elphinstone Road stampede cannot be pinned on one party alone.

Social media accounts of political leaders and parties have a wide reach, but it was used not to help the victims. Couldn't some of this alacrity have gone in appealing for blood donations, providing updates, publicising helplines or sharing the names of the deceased identified? 

As railway minister Piyush Goyal visited the KEM hospital - where the injured had been rushed to - the Congress, the Shiv Sena and the NCP staged separate protests there. Why wasn't this manpower used to help the injured and the relatives of the deceased?

While Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Nirupam visited the hospital soon after the accident, none of these leaders realised that VIP visits mean blocked roads and unnecessary crowds, making matters worse for the victims and their kin. The Sena claims to be the true champion of Mumbai. As any Mumbaikar will tell you, disruptions on the local train network hit the city as little else can. What did the Sena's vast network of Sainiks do to help the Elphinstone victims?

The blame for the stampede cannot be pinned on one party alone. Before the BJP came to power, Maharashtra was ruled by the Congress-NCP, and the Shiv Sena before that. The Sena has controlled the BMC for decades, and if Mumbai's roads were not chronically clogged, the load on the railway network would not be this enormous.

The Shiv Sena shares power in the current government too, and it was Sena's proposal to change the name of Elphinstone Road station to Prabhadevi. One can't help but wonder if a party has the power to affect such changes, could it not have pressured the government to improve the facilities too.

The Elphinstone Road station mishap is a case study of administrative failure and apathy. But the palpable glee of politicians in finding a stick to beat the BJP with is in bad taste.

Alsp read: More than 20 crushed to death in Mumbai stampede disaster which everyone knew was coming

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