Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s office on Tuesday said the Uttar Pradesh government has demanded that the 1,000 buses the party wants to ply for ferrying migrant labourers back to the state be handed over in Lucknow this morning and alleged that the move is politically motivated.
It also alleged that the demand shows that the UP government lacks the intention to help those stranded at the state’s borders.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday had accepted the Congress’ offer to run 1,000 buses to bring migrant labourers back to the state, a proposal which had triggered a war of words between the two sides.
In a letter to Additional Chief Secretary Avneesh Kumar Awasthi, Priyanka Gandhi’s private secretary Sandeep Singh said a letter was received from the UP official at 11.40 am via email, in which it has been stated that 1,000 buses with all documents be handed over at Lucknow by 10 am on Tuesday.
“In a situation when thousands of workers are walking on the streets and thousands of people have gathered at the UP borders at various registration centres, sending 1,000 empty buses to Lucknow is not only a waste of time and resources but is also inhuman and the product of an anti-poor mindset,” Singh said in the letter in Hindi.
“This demand of your government seems politically motivated. It does not seem that your government wants to help our labourer brothers and sisters who are facing a disaster,” the letter said.
“In the letter dated May 16, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has sought permission to run 500 buses from Ghazipur border in Ghaziabad and 500 buses from Noida border to help the stranded migrant labourers reach home. In this context, at 4.01 pm (on May 18), I got your letter (through WhatsApp) seeking list of 1,000 buses along with details of drivers and conductors. This was provided to you after sometime through email,” it said.
The state government had asked Priyanka Gandhi, who had made the offer, to provide it with a list of buses along with the names of their drivers and conductors.
“Kindly provide complete details of all the buses along with their fitness certificates, driving licences of drivers and details of the conductors to District Magistrate Lucknow at Sector 15-16 Vrindawan Yojana. The District Magistrate has been informed about this,” Awasthi had said in a letter.
Subsequently, Priyanka Gandhi’s private secretary Singh had given details of the buses and its drivers to the UP government in an email.
“All details of the 1,000 buses are attached with this e-mail. Out of them, a few drivers will be reverified and those details will also be mailed to you in a few hours. I hope you will give permission for those buses to ply as soon as possible,” Singh had said in the communication to the UP government on Monday.
The Congress leader had recently written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking permission to run 1,000 buses at her party’s expense.
The party had then accused the BJP-run UP government of ignoring the offer.
“The offer made to the chief minister through the letter on May 16 in connection with migrant labourers has been accepted,” Additional Chief Secretary Awasthi (Home and Information) had said in a letter to Priyanka Gandhi’s private secretary.
A little later on Twitter, Priyanka Gandhi, who is the Congress general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, had thanked Adityanath.
“Thank you for allowing us to run 1,000 buses at the expense of the Congress to help thousands of brothers and sisters walking on the roads in Uttar Pradesh,” she had tweeted in Hindi.
She had said the Congress will stand with these people during the difficult time they face.
In a television interview earlier on Monday, Adityanath accused the Congress of playing politics over the plight of migrant workers.
Singh in his letter on Tuesday also expressed surprise at the chief minister, saying his government was demanding the details of buses since the last three days and asserted that the details were provided immediately after the letter from the UP government was received in this regard.