Other States

Sachin Pilot says BJP’s ‘narrow mindset’ got exposed with the bus row

U.P. is resorting to gimmicks: Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister

Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh of indulging in “political gimmicks” on the issue of the Congress offering to provide buses to ferry migrant workers during the COVID-19 lockdown. Mr. Pilot said the Congress had made arrangement of buses when even the Centre had dragged its feet on helping out the migrants.

Also read: U.P. government locks horns with Congress over buses for migrant workers

Mr. Pilot, who is also Pradesh Congress Committee president, said at a press conference here that the political tussle on the issue, with the Uttar Pradesh government creating hurdles, registering cases and arresting Congress leaders, had depicted the BJP’s “narrow mindset”.

“A ruling party blaming the Opposition for its initiative to extend help to poor migrants is unheard-of in Indian politics,” Mr. Pilot said, pointing out that AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had offered to send 1,032 buses, which were parked for three days on the Uttar Pradesh border.

Slams Centre

Mr. Pilot also slammed the Centre for its failure to chalk out a concrete policy for transporting the migrant workers to their native places. “Thousands of migrants are walking hungry on roads. Uttar Pradesh refused to accept the offer made by the Congress in this situation. Would it have diminished their stature?”

State Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas demanded that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath be booked for defying the Centre’s orders on plying of buses. “In its guidelines for the COVID-19 lockdown, the Central government had clearly stated that no bus transporting the migrants would be stopped ... till June 30,” he said.

Convoy returns

The convoy of buses hired by the Congress to ferry migrant workers to their hometowns had returned from the inter-State border at Uncha Nagla in Bharatpur district on Wednesday with the Uttar Pradesh government refusing permission to them after they waited for three days. The Rajasthan government had planned to bring back the State’s migrants from Uttar Pradesh on the return journey of buses.

Also read: Cong.-hired buses await nod to enter U.P. from Rajasthan

Responding to the Uttar Pradesh government’s allegation that Rajasthan had charged it ₹36 lakh for providing additional buses to send students stranded in Kota back home, Mr. Khachariawas said it was the Uttar Pradesh government which had offered to pay the bill for additional buses and the diesel provided.

“First they [the BJP government] took credit for ferrying students stranded in Kota. Then they asked us to send the bill for the Rajasthan Roadways buses which we provided to them. Now they are blaming the Rajasthan government for sending them the bill,” Mr. Khachariyawas said, while releasing an April 27 letter of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Managing Director.

Mr. Khachariyawas said the Congress government in Rajasthan had so far spent ₹2.06 crore on the transport of migrant labourers and their families through ‘Shramik Special’ buses and other vehicles. “We have spent money on giving food and essential items to workers during journey. We have also arranged buses for sending the migrants to Uttarakhand and are waiting for permission for entry of buses.”

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 7:51:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sachin-pilot-says-bjps-narrow-mindset-got-exposed-with-the-bus-row/article31653279.ece

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