Kejriwal reacts to PM's statement on migrant crisis during lockdown
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday vehemently opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on migrant exodus during the nationwide lockdown in 2020. PM Modi had accused the Opposition of contributing to the spread of COVID-19 by letting the migrant laborers travel home after the first phase of lockdown was announced. Kejriwal said the statement of the PM was a "blatant lie."
Why does the story matter?
During the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major issues in India was the migrant crisis. The Opposition said that thousands of laborers had suffered as the lockdown was imposed without any prior notice, and the visuals of them walking towards their homes from every corner of the country rocked the nation.
'PM should not politicize the sufferings of people'
"This statement of Prime Minister is completely false. The country hopes that the Prime Minister will be sensitive to those who have suffered the pain in the Corona period, those who have lost their loved ones. It does not suit the Prime Minister to do politics on the sufferings of the people," tweeted Kejriwal in Hindi.
Uttar Pradesh CM demands apology from Kejriwal
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath slammed Kejriwal for his comments on Modi and demanded an apology. "Kejriwal has a knack for telling lies," he tweeted. "Listen Kejriwal, you forced the workers of UP to leave Delhi when the entire humanity was reeling under the impact of COVID." Adityanath added the Delhi government did an undemocratic act by leaving migrants helpless on the borders.
I haven't seen such a cruel ruler like you: Kejriwal
Kejriwal reacted sharply to the comments of Adityanath and called him "harsh and cruel." "Listen Yogi, you just let it be. Dead bodies of the people of UP were flowing in the river and you were giving advertisements of your false applause in Times magazine by spending crores of rupees. I have never seen such a harsh and cruel ruler like you," he tweeted.
What did the PM say?
During his response to the debate on the motion of thanks in the Parliament, Modi said that Congress leaders in Mumbai offered free train tickets to migrants. "In Delhi, the government used mics on jeeps in slums and asked people to go home, arranged buses," he added. These events triggered an outbreak of the virus in Uttar Pradesh and other states, claimed Modi.
Other opposition leaders react sharply to the statement
Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said the remarks of the PM were "unfortunate." "The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi has done a lot of work for the laborers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh during lockdown. The responsibility that the central government should have taken, we shouldered it," he said. Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi stated that they will repeat the mistake "100 times over for humanity."
Migrant population in India
In 2011, India's migrant population was estimated to be at 450 million, up from 309 million in 2001, as per Statista. Intra-district movement accounted for more than 60% of the total. Inter-district migration has increased since 1991, but inter-state migration has decreased.