New Delhi, May 20 : Highlighting the plight of migrant workers walking on foot to their native places, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday targeted the Uttar Pradesh government for not allowing the buses arranged by the party to enter the state.
After the permission was not granted for the buses to enter UP, Priyanka Gandhi decided to recall them.
Addressing a press conference over the politics on the buses to ferry the migrant workers, Priyanka Gandhi said, “For the last few days we have seen that migrant workers have been walking without any food and any proper mode of transport. They are are travelling hundreds of kilometres. Many pregnant women are walking for over eight hours a day, while some are carrying their children and parents on their shoulders.”
She said that during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, everyone needs to realize one’s responsibilities.
She said the Congress wants to help in a positive way and doesn’t want to indulge in politics.
“I request you to let these buses enter Uttar Pradesh. This is not the time to play politics; all parties should set aside politics and help people,” she said.
“They are not only people of the country, but they are the backbone of the economy. They have made the buildings and cities,” she said.
Reiterating the offer of providing 1,000 buses to ferry the migrants, the Congress leader, who is also party in-charge of eastern UP, said, “Our buses have been parked at the Uttar Pradesh borders. They will remain there till 4 p.m. on Wednesday. If you want to use them, then give permission or they will be brought back.”
However, the party said the buses waited two more hours beyond 4p.m. and then were called back.
Priyanka said if the BJP wants to use these buses with their own stickers and posters, the Congress has no objection as its only motive is to help the migrant workers.
She said that in the last three days, had the buses been allowed to enter UP, over 92,000 people would have been ferried to their native places. “But now we can see that the same people are walking on foot to their homes,” she said.
She also mentioned the letter war with the Uttar Pradesh government and said, “I had written to the Chief Minister proposing 1,000 buses. Initially, the Chief Minister said they did not need those vehicles as they already had over 12,000 of them. And then the next day, we received a letter from the Uttar Pradesh government to provide the details of the buses, which we shared with them. Out of the 1,000 buses, some were not fit, which we agreed to replace,” she said.
“However, for the last three days, these buses have been parked at the Uttar Pradesh border adjoining Rajasthan and in Delhi and waiting for the permission,” she said.
Emphasising that it is not the time for petty politics, she said, “It is important that all political parties help the people in distress. The UP Congress after the announcement of lockdown formed a volunteer group and also started community kitchens in several parts of the state.”
She said that the Congress has to date distributed food to over 67 lakh people.