Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday mourned the death of several passengers in Odisha's Balasore train accident and said that questions with the government can wait till Sunday as rescue and relief is an immediate task.
Party leader Sonia Gandhi also mourned the death of the passengers in Balasore.
"I am most pained and anguished by the terrible train disaster in Odisha. I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to all the bereaved families," Sonia Gandhi, who is the Chairperson of Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Kharge also mourned the death of the passengers in the train accident and said the party has many questions to ask the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister but those can wait since the immediate task is of rescue and relief.
In a statement, Kharge said, "At this moment of grave national tragedy on account of the terrible train disaster in Odisha, I have instructed the entire Congress party organisation to extend all possible and needed help."
Kharge said that a number of Congress leaders from different states have either already reached or will soon be reaching Balasore.
"I once again extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. We have many questions to ask of the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister but those can wait since the immediate task is of rescue and relief," the Congress chief said.
Echoing the views of Kharge, Congress General Secretary Communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh said, "The rail crash in Odisha is truly horrendous. It is a matter of the greatest anguish. It reinforces why safety should always be the foremost priority in the functioning of the rail network. There are many legitimate questions that need to be raised but that should wait till tomorrow."
The remarks of the Congress leaders came after 261 people died in a train accident near Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha on Friday evening. Over 900 people have also been injured and are admitted in several hospitals.
Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal said that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge has deputed Lok Sabha Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and AICC In-Charge A. Chella Kumar to immediately visit the crash site in Odisha to take stock of the situation and oversee relief efforts being undertaken by Congress workers and frontal organisations.
Earlier in the day, Gurdeep Singh Sappal, AICC Incharge-Admin & Coordinator Office of Congress President tweeted, "Resignation in such cases are expected not just on moral grounds. Resignation is also a means to ensure that those in power and accountability for the accident do not influence such 'high level inquiry'. That's why the norm is that the officers in the chain of command are suspended and the minister resigns!"
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a high level meeting with the officials and several ministers of his government over the train accident. He also left for Odisha to visit the accident site.
The rescue operation has been completed at the derailment site and restoration work has started.