Buses return as UP govt refuses permission to Congress initiative

The political slugfest between the BJP and the Congress continued on Wednesday over special buses that were arranged by the latter to ferry migrant labourers of Uttar Pradesh. But on Wednesday, the battle field for the two national parties had shifted from the Bharatpur-Agra border to the DND Flyway, Noida.

Congress workers had lined up around 400 buses at the Noida-Delhi border to hand them over to the UP government and accused the ruling party of politicising the plight of migrant workers. Congress leaders like Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar Chaudhary, Rajeev Shukla, Sushmita Deb, and Rajiv Satav along with many party workers reached the DND Flyway but UP authorities did not give them permission to cross the border.

The vehicles from DelhiNoida border and Bharatpur-Agra border finally took a U-turn but not before Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s video message on social media went viral. In her message, she urged the UP government to give permission to run vehicles arranged by the Congress. In the video message, she said, “At 4 PM, it will be 24 hours since the buses were made available. If you want to use it, do it. Give us permission.” This message was released just shortly before the 4 pm deadline and she said, “Buses will be sent back but the Congress and its workers will continue to help the migrants with food and all possible help.” She took a dig at BJP and said, “Use the buses with BJP stickers, but allow them to transport migrant labourers.”

Reacting to Priyanka’s video message, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attacked the Congress general secretary in-charge of UP. “If she’s (Priyanka Gandhi) really focused about UP, she should see why 300 trains arrived in UP, when not even 7 arrived in Chhattisgarh. Do not want to politicise this as migrants are Indians and all of us in this extraordinary situation should concentrate and work together,” she said.

This war of words between the two parties had escalated when the UP government held back permission to buses arranged by the Congress to run. It accused the Congress of submitting fake list of buses by listing trucks, three-wheelers and tempos as buses. An FIR was also lodged in Lucknow against Priyanka Gandhi’s private secretary Sandeep Singh and UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lalloo for giving wrong details about the buses. Meanwhile, in Agra, Lallu was granted interim bail by a court till July 16. He was arrested on Tuesday evening with several others after they staged a protest near the Agra-Bharatpur border.

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