Buses for migrants are the fulcrum of politics between Congress and the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. The issue began with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra offering to send 1,000 buses to help migrant workers stranded in Uttar Pradesh.
The Yogi Adityanath-led government in BJP agreed, but demanded all 1,000 buses be delivered by Tuesday morning. Congress-ruled states like Rajasthan deployed a number of buses, while some buses came from New Delhi. However, there were chaotic scenes at Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh border in Bharatpur, as was there confusion at the Delhi-UP border, as the Uttar Pradesh authorities refused to let the buses in.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma spoke to Sangeeta Pranvendra of The Free Press Journal on the issue and challenged Congress governments to adopt the official route for this. He termed Priyanka Gandhi a ‘private person’ and said that governments interact with governments, not with private persons.
Accusing the Rajasthan government of creating a baseless issue to achieve political ends, Sharma said that was a procedure that was required to be followed by both states to take home migrants during a crisis situation. “We followed that to successfully take home our migrants from Rajasthan by train. We had sent buses to Kota too. But a procedure was followed. Rajasthan government gave us a list of people to be ferried; we verified it. Buses and trains were sanitised and passengers were screened. Transit food was arranged. Only then were our residents taken home. Once they reached home we ensured their quarantine. This is the complete procedure of taking back migrants,” said Sharma.
Sharma rubbished the claims about UP not having sufficient trains and buses to take home its migrants, “We have 27,000 buses and 900 trains pressed into use. Our labour has been brought back from Gujarat and Maharashtra while working with their governments. Give us a list of our people in Rajasthan, we will initiate procedure to take them back. But people just cannot get on a bus and cross border into the state. Out of these 12,000 are UP government’s buses and 15,000 are at disposal of district officials. 10,000 people have come home by trains and almost 6.5 lakh people have come home by buses. We have adequate resources at our disposal.”
“Tell me one instance where any state has undertaken such a procedure with an individual. Send back all our people. But, Rajasthan government should get in touch with us immediately. We will begin the process. But they just want to create an issue,” he added.
Sharma termed Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra as a person with no locus standi to demand that Uttar Pradesh responds to her demands.Adding that she was in no way authorised to take charge of keeping record of people coming and screening them. “So, if buses were to be arranged, Rajasthan Government should have spoken to Uttar Pradesh Government. Who will be responsible for the safety, health and well-being of the travelling migrant?”
Further attacking the Congress, Sharma said that if they wanted to be so noble, they should send buses to Punjab and Maharashtra as well. “I don’t see them doing this. In fact, lakhs of people from Uttar Pradesh are stuck in Rajasthan Maharashtra and Punjab and these three governments have been totally apathetic towards them. They have not even been provided with food or shelter,” alleged the Dy CM.
Sharma also cited the Twitter thread shared by several BJP leaders on Tuesday that had screenshots of the vehicle details. “If by chance we decide to consider their offer the vehicles whose numbers that have been provided for ferrying the migrants belong to cars, ambulances, autos and unfit buses,” he said.