The Shiv Sena on Wednesday criticised states which have insisted on coronavirus testing of migrant workers before taking them back, terming it is a "cruel and inhuman" stand.
An editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' also criticised the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government, saying it brought back students from Kota in Rajasthan without any testing "since they were rich", while train fares were charged from the poor.
The Sena praised Congress president Sonia Gandhi's decision asking her state party units to bear the cost of the train fare of migrant workers returning home.
Workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh migrate mostly to Maharashtra and Gujarat, it noted.
"Till yesterday, these workers were the vote bank of political parties and leaders, as if Mumbai and Maharashtra have been built on the hard work of these migrant workers.
These people are running away in times of crisis and their political mentors have turned them away," the Sena said.
It alleged thatthe Uttar Pradesh government made a "u-turn" on taking back migrant workers and put stringent conditions for them, including that they be tested for coronavirus before return.
"This stand of states is cruel and against humanity," the Sena said
It also accused the Uttar Pradesh government of "rich-poor bias".
"Hundreds of buses were sent to Kota to bring students back to Uttar Pradesh without any testing since they were rich. For poor, rail ticket fares were charged," the Marathi daily said.
The Sena said migrant labourers stuck in different parts of Maharashtra have to face a new ordeal now.
Maharashtra looked after them well but they want to go home while their home state is not ready to take them.
It praised Congress president Sonia Gandhi's decision asking her state party units to bear the cost of the train fare of migrant workers returning home.
This was done on humanitarian grounds, the Sena said.
"Migrant workers are not cats and dogs. But their native states are not showing humanity," it said.
The Sena said Union minister Nitin Gadkari has rightly pointed out that "migrant labourers may run away from Maharashtra but what will they eat in their home state".