In an escalating political fight with Yogi Adityanath over buses for migrants, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accuses the Uttar Pradesh government of "crossing all limits". The Congress general secretary, who had offered to run 1,000 buses to take stranded workers home, tweeted: "When we got a chance to set aside politics to help desperate migrants, they put up all possible hurdles ". The UP government has accused the Congress leader of "fraud" by sending a list of buses in which most registration numbers belong to autos, two-wheelers and goods carriers. An FIR has been filed against Priyanka’s secretary and UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu for giving wrong details in the list of buses.
Amid the political heat over Congress requisitioning buses for the stranded migrant workers, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday attacked the Uttar Pradesh government, accusing it of “crossing all limits” and asking it to put “BJP banners” on the buses, but not reject the help for the migrant workers.
In a series of tweets, Priyanka Gandhi, who is also in-charge of the party’s eastern UP, said: “The state government has crossed all the limits. When we got a chance to sideline political differences to help the migrant workers, all kinds of obstacles have been created.
“Yogi Adityanath ji, if you want, then put up BJP banners and posters on the buses, but don’t reject our services because three days have been wasted in this political nonsense and in those days, many migrants have lost their lives.”
In her tweet, Priyanka Gandhi also tagged a video of Congress workers arguing with the UP police at the state’s borders, asking them to allow the buses.
The politics over the buses for stranded migrant workers heated up on Tuesday as the Congress accused the Uttar Pradesh government of not allowing the vehicles arranged by the state party, asserting that around 500 buses were stopped at the UP-Rajasthan border towards Agra.
Priyanka Gandhi’s personal aide Sandeep Singh asked the UP government to allow the buses to pass through Noida and Ghaziabad.
Earlier in the day, the UP government asked Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to provide a list of party-organised buses for ferrying migrants to the district magistrates of Ghaziabad and Noida, just as it appeared that the issue was settled.
The UP government then alleged the list submitted by the Congress included registration numbers of cars, scooters and autos.
UP government spokesman Siddhartha Nath Singh said in Lucknow the Congress deserved condemnation for this kind of ‘fraud and forgery’. “Congress president Sonia Gandhi should respond to the actions of her children, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress released the video of buses parked at the state’s border near Agra. In the evening, UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu was detained by the state police.
Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi said out of 1,049 buses, 879 have been found fit by the Uttar Pradesh government and that the party will provide 200 more buses on Wednesday.
She also urged the UP government not to delay the bus services for the stranded migrant workers willing to go back to their homes.
In a series of tweets Priyanka Gandhi said, “Uttar Pradesh government has itself said that of the 1,049 buses offered by us, 879 have been found proper in the verification. At Uncha Nagala border our 500 buses have been made to wait by the administration for several hours. Similarly on Delgi border 300 buses are also coming. Please allow 879 buses to ply.”
“Tomorrow we will provide the list of 200 more buses for the service. Get the list of those buses also verified. People are in trouble and sad. We cannot delay any further,” Priyanka Gandhi, who is also Congress in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh said.
Amid the raging politics, the Congress, again wrote to UP Additional Chief Secretary Avneesh Kumar Awasthi seeking permission to bring the buses standing at the state’s border near Agra to Noida and Ghaziabad.
In a letter to Awasthi, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s personal aide Sandeep Singh said, “You have asked us to bring the buses to Noida and Ghaziabad in the letter sent to us at 11.05 a.m. today (Tuesday).”
“For the last three hours, the buses are at Ucha Nagala in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, near Agra. The administration is not allowing us to enter the state. We again urge you that it’s time to show sensitivity,” he said and added, give permission for our buses to reach Noida and Ghaziabad.
Earlier in the day, Singh had written to Awasthi to give time till 5 p.m. to bring the buses to the Ghaziabad and Noida borders.
This followed Awasthi’s letter to Priyanka Gandhi to hand over the 1,000 buses to the District Magistrates of Ghaziabad and Noida by 12 noon.
Stating that several buses are in Delhi and Rajasthan and permits are being acquired, Singh told the Additional Chief Secretary, “We will need some more time to get the permits and the buses will be handed over to the state government by 5 p.m.”
Earlier in the morning, the state government asked Priyanka Gandhi to send 500 buses each to Ghaziabad and Noida by 12 noon. Awasthi in his letter to Priyanka Gandhi’s aide said, “As you don’t want to send the buses to Lucknow, and want to hand them over at Ghaziabad or Noida borders, please hand over 500 buses to the Ghaziabad District Magistrate by 12 noon at Kaushambi and Sahibabad bus depots. And the rest 500 buses to Gautam Buddha Nagar District Magistrate near the Expo Mart in Noida.”
Awasthi said the administration would check the fitness, permits and other documents of buses and use them immediately.
On the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, Priyanka Gandhi after giving the list of buses shot a letter to the Additional Chief Secretary alleging the Chief Minister’s Office was playing politics over poor migrants.
The letter, written at 2.10 a.m, she said a missive received from Awasthi’s office at 11.40 p.m. on Monday said the buses should report at Lucknow by 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
On Monday, Priyanka Gandhi’s personal secretary claimed to have sent details of buses and their drivers to the UP government as demanded by the state government.
Around 100 migrants travelling from Haryana’s Yamunanagar to West Bengal were left stranded in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur when the truck driver who was transporting them suddenly abandoned them there.
The migrants alleged that the driver had taken Rs 3,000 each from them, but on some pretext, dropped them there and took off.
Hearing of their plight, former Union Minister Jitin Prasada reached the spot and informed the district administration of the situation. He also arranged buses for them with the help of the officials for their onward journey.
“This is gross negligence… when the government has said that nobody will travel by truck, then how were they (these migrants) allowed to cross state borders,” he asked.
After last week’s accident in UP’s Auraiya left two dozen migrant workers dead, the UP government has ordered that no migrant labourers should be allowed to travel by truck or lorry.
Citing the Congress’ ongoing row with the state government, Prasada said: “The state government is busy doing politics over the buses provided by Congress…. had it been the case, the migrants would have not been forced to travel like this.”
“This is the time to cooperate, not the time for credit,” he said, lashing out at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as a standoff continued at the UP border in Agra with the buses lined up not allowed to enter the state and state Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu being detained. (IANS)