NAGPUR: Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Friday demanded a judicial probe into the Mumbai stampede in which 22 people died and more than 30 injured.
The tragedy took place around 10.40 am on the stairwell of a narrow overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations.
"A judicial inquiry should be initiated into the incident as there are reports that rumours were being spread," the Minister of State for Social Justice said.
He demanded that "maximum possible" compensation be given to kin of the deceased.
The state government and Railway Ministry each have announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for kin of the victims of the stampede.
Responding to a query, Athawale backed carving out separate Vidarbha out of Maharashtra.
"The Central government should seriously think about the demand for creating separate Vidarbha state. There is no harm in having two Marathi-speaking states," the Dalit leader said.
Athawale said his party, the RPI (A), is organising a convention for separate Vidarbha in Nagpur on November 1.
"We will invite leaders of all the political parties, including the BJP which are supporting the cause of separate Vidarbha, at the convention," he said.
Responding to a query on the Shiv Sena's threats to pull out of the BJP-led state government, Athawale said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party should not break the alliance.
"However, even if the Sena walks out of the NDA, the government won't collapse as we have 130 MLAs and need support of 15 more," he said.
Athawale said MLAs don't want mid-term polls now.
"However, we are ready to face snap polls as people are in favour of the BJP government. RPI(A) will always support the NDA government. The Devendra Fadnavis government will complete its five-year term," the minister said.