Letter-war between Priyanka Gandhi, UP government over buses for migrants
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the Uttar Pradesh government are locked in a nasty war of words over the transportation of migrant workers from Delhi. Yesterday, Priyanka said the party arranged 1,000 buses for the laborers and claimed the Yogi Adityanath government was denying permission. Though the permission was given later, the controversy didn't die. Here's everything you need to know.
The lockdown, imposed to contain the spread of deadly coronavirus, started on March 25, spelling doom for migrant workers. From huge cities, the jobless laborers started walking thousands of kilometers towards their homes. Some hitched risky rides on trucks, which proved fatal frequently. Even after three extensions (lockdown 4.0 will end on May 31) and special Shramik trains, their woes didn't end.
The crisis, raging for weeks, got Priyanka's attention yesterday when she told Adityanath this wasn't the time for politics. 1,000 buses would ferry migrants to their respective homes across UP, she said, adding that they were still awaiting permission. These buses were sourced from Rajasthan, where the Congress is in power. Later, Priyanka thanked Adityanath for allowing the buses to move.
..हमें उप्र में पैदल चलते हुए हजारों भाई-बहनों की मदद करने के लिए, कांग्रेस के खर्चे पर 1000 बसों को चलवाने की इजाजत देने के लिए आपको धन्यवाद।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 18, 2020
आपको उप्र कांग्रेस की तरफ से मैं आश्वस्त करती हूँ कि हम सकारात्मक भाव से महामारी और उसके चलते लॉकडाउन की वजह से पीड़ित उप्र के..2/3
Priyanka's tweet came after Adityanath told a news channel that he is yet to get a list of buses that Congress claims it has arranged. "I would like to tell the Congress leaders that during this pandemic, they should not do petty politics. The need of the hour is sympathy and sensitivity towards the migrant laborers," he had said.
Just as it was looking that war of words has subsided, a top official of the UP government wrote a letter to Congress, asking to submit details of all drivers, along with health certificates and driving licenses. The details were to be submitted in Lucknow by 10 am today. The response to this letter was filed by Sandeep Singh, Priyanka's secretary, at 2:10 am.
Calling the move "politically motivated", Singh asked what would be the outcome if empty buses travel all the way to Lucknow. Another letter followed on Tuesday, where the UP government asked Congress to send 500 buses each to Noida and Ghaziabad, bordering Delhi. "The district administration will receive all the buses and utilize them," UP's Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said.
Singh also sent a letter announcing that the buses will reach the designated sites at 5 pm. "Please keep a list of passengers and route map ready to ensure smooth coordination," the letter read. Notably, before Singh's letter surfaced, Sidharth Nath Singh, a UP minister, said that in the buses' list which Congress sent, many turned out to be two-wheelers, autos, and goods carriers.
We have done preliminary inquiry it has come to surface that out of the buses for which they sent details, many are turning out to be 2-wheelers, autos goods carriers. It's unfortunate, Sonia Gandhi should answer why they are committing this fraud: Sidharth Nath Singh, UP Min pic.twitter.com/IUWD0LKwuF— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 19, 2020
Responding to the allegations, Ajay Kumar Lallu, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief said, "Government is trying to confuse people, they are intentionally making up fake numbers to do politics. We have provided the numbers of buses, we can make it public, you can verify it."