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After political slugfest, UP govt accepts Cong offer to run 1,000 buses for migrant worker

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Press Trust of India  |  Lucknow 

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday 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.

The state government asked Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who had made the offer, to provide it with a list of buses along with the names of their drivers and conductors.

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 Awanish Awasthi (Home and Information) said in a letter to Priyanka Gandhi's private secretary.

"Therefore, the list of 1,000 buses, names and other details of its drivers and conductors be provided without delay, so that these can be used for migrant labourers," it added.

On Twitter a little later, Priyanka Gandhi, who is the Congress general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, 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 tweeted in Hindi.

She added that the Congress will stand with these people during the difficult time they face.

In a television interview earlier in the say, Adityanath accused the Congress of playing politics over the plight of migrant workers.

He claimed that he has been asking the Congress for the last three days to provide the list of its buses.

I am yet to get the list. I would like to tell the Congress leaders that they should not do petty politics during this pandemic. The need of the hour is sympathy and sensitivity towards the migrant labourers," he added.

He also shifted blame for the recent collision between two trucks which killed 27 migrant labourers on the Congress governments in Punjab and Rajasthan.

"In the unfortunate accident that took place in UP's Auraiya, the Congress leadership should understand that one truck was from Rajasthan, while the other was coming from Punjab, he said.

"A hefty amount of money was taken from the migrant labourers, who were returning to Bihar and Jharkhand, he said.

He said the Hindi proverb about the cat which seeks salvation after killing 100 mice fits the Congress -- "Sau chuhe khaakar, billi haj ko chali.

The UP government says it has brought home lakhs of workers stranded in other states because of the coronavirus lockdown, running buses and organising train services for them.

Also during the day, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu brandished a list of buses during a press conference and claimed that the party has been seeking time to meet Adityanath for the last three days.

How will you know about the condition of poor labourers while sitting in AC rooms, he mocked.

Congress legislature party leader Aradhana Misra said migrant workers were forced to walk home or use unsafe modes of transport and blamed the state government for it.

"If the labourers or workers of Uttar Pradesh have entered the state, whose responsibility is it to ensure their safe return to their homes, she asked.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 18 2020. 21:30 IST