A scene after a stampede at the Sindh river bridge through which pilgrims were heading towards the Ratangarh temple in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday. (PTI photo)
A war of words erupted today over the stampede in Madhya Pradesh, with Congress demanding Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's resignation and BJP hitting back by accusing it of playing politics over dead bodies.
Congress alleged that the tragedy at Ratangarh temple in Datia yesterday was "man-made" and a result of "misgovernance" as adequate precautionary measures had not been taken.
"A stampede had happened over five years ago at a similar place which left many people injured. The MP government learnt no lessons from it. Its misgovernance and rampant corruption lies at the roots of the tragedy. It should take moral responsibility and the CM should resign," AICC Communication Department head Ajay Maken told reporters.
He claimed that cops present to maintain order in the place were collecting bribe of Rs 200 from every tractor driver to drive into a no-entry-zone for vehicles. Tractors were used to ferry thousands of pilgrims.
"It cramped the entire area and it became a reason for the disaster... The MP government and the CM could not escape responsibility for such a big man-made tragedy," he said.
Party general secretary and former state Chief Minister Digvijay Singh levelled similar allegations.
Union Minister Kamal Nath, another senior leader from the state, also demanded the Chouhan's resignation.
"They (government) have failed. I hold them squarely responsible certainly for this incident," Nath said.
Chouhan termed the politics over the tragedy "unwanted" and said, "The focus should be on attending to the injured and taking steps to avoid any such incidents in the future".
Terming the Ratangarh stampede as unfortunate, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said Congress is playing "politics over dead bodies" and demanded that government must plan out full-proof mechanisms for avoiding such incidents in future.
The death toll in the stampede has climbed to 115.