The BJP on Wednesday demanded that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra apologise to the people of Uttar Pradesh, claiming that she made a "fake promise" of providing 1,000 buses for ferrying migrants.
The party asked why she did not offer to send buses to Congress-ruled Maharashtra and Punjab, where thousands of people from UP are stranded.
Requesting the leaders of various political parties to avoid politics in this time of crisis, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said they would get many chances in the future to do so when elections are held.
Suggesting that it is time when opposition parties should speak in unison for the sake of the country, Prasad said, I have no objection to the Congress party or Smt Priayankaji, but this mischief related to buses the politics on buses is not appropriate.
Asking what would happen if BJP workers do the same in Congress-ruled states, Prasad said Uttar Pradesh government under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath has done a commendable job and all state governments are trying their best to help the poor.
Stepping up attack, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao accused Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of passing off buses provided by the Rajasthan government as those arranged by her party and said she "betrayed" the people of the state by doing so.
Over 297 buses provided by the Congress have no fitness certificate, 68 have no documents and the registration numbers of 98 turned out to be of vehicles other than buses, Rao, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, said.
"She (Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) has also insulted the people of Rajasthan by passing off the buses provided by the state government as that arranged by her family. For this fake promise she and the Congress should apologise to the people of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh as well," he said.
The war of words between the BJP and the Congress further escalated after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra again urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday to allow her party to ply buses to ferry migrants to their homes amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
In a 10-minute video message released on Congress social media handles, she said this is not the time to play politics but to help people, especially migrant labourers, suffering due to the lockdown.
In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma questioned the Congress party's sincerity on the issue of helping migrant workers.
"If it (Congress) wants to help the migrant labourers of UP in other states, then they should send buses to Rajasthan, Punjab and Maharashtra, as people are being exploited. Why did it not send buses to Punjab and Maharashtra?" he asked.
Sharma also asked how the resources of a state government could be utilised by a political party.
"Here, I want to ask them why Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot did not feel sad when our children were crying in Kota (the coaching hub) as they were not getting food, water and treatment? Where had his buses gone then," he said.
At that time, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued orders to run over 600 buses to bring back the students to UP and send them to their homes, and Gehlot was compelled to praise the UP CM, he said.
Sharma said the action of the Congress was a political stunt aimed at deriving some mileage.
"The Congress has duped the migrant labourers and kept the UP government in the dark. It should tender an apology for providing a wrong list of buses and wasting the time of the government.
"They also conspired to put the lives of the migrant labourers at risk. Hence, tender an apology to the labourers," the deputy chief minister said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)