The Uttar Pradesh government and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are engaged in a bitter letter war as both of them writing to each other over the buses arranged for taking the migrants to their destinations.
Even after the Uttar Pradesh government initially permitted the Congress to send buses to ferry migrants, the buses that were supposed to come to Ghaziabad and Noida are still stuck at UP border till 6 pm on Tuesday.
As many as 9 letters have been exchanged between the two sides on the matter, with each accusing the other of not caring for migrants. We sum up the 3-day-long feud into 10 points for you.
Aap chronology samajhiye:
1. On May 16, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra seeks permission from UP government to run 500 buses from Ghazipur border in Ghaziabad and 500 buses from Noida border to help the stranded migrant labourers reach home. She says Congress will bear the cost.
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.. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/Bw2EOIkgil
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 16, 2020
2. A delegation led by UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu and legislature party leader Aradhana Mishra hands over the letter by Priyanka at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office in Lucknow
3. A Rajasthan Congress cabinet minister on Sunday claims that the state government has kept 500 private buses ready to ferry migrant workers to Uttar Pradesh but they are not being allowed to enter by the Yogi Adityanath government.
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 17, 2020
4. According to Pradeep Mathur, former Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, the state government has been informed about the arrival of buses via a WhatsApp message sent to Additional Chief secretary Avanish Awasthi and SK Goel Principal secretary to the chief minister. However, no response was received from them, he claims.
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— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 17, 2020
5. On Monday, the Uttar Pradesh government accepts Priyanka Gandhi’s proposal to run 1,000 buses to ferry migrant labourers back home to the state and seeks the list of buses along with the names and other details of the drivers and conductors. Subsequently, Priyanka Gandhi’s private secretary Singh gives details of the buses and its drivers to the UP government in an email.
A little later on Twitter, Priyanka Gandhi thanks CM Adityanath.
“Thank you for allowing us to run 1,000 buses at the expense of the Congress to help thousands of brothers and sisters walking on the roads in Uttar Pradesh,” she tweets.
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— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) May 18, 2020
6. On Monday night, the personal aide of Priyanka Gandhi gets a message from Additional Chief Secretary, UP, at 11.40 pm to report the buses at Lucknow at 10 am on Tuesday. Congress alleges that calling the buses to Lucknow is “nothing but politics”. It also claims that the demand shows that the UP government lacks the intention to help those stranded at the state’s borders.
7. Come Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government asks Priyanka Gandhi to provide buses for carrying migrants to the district magistrates of Ghaziabad and Noida. In a letter written to Vadra’s private secretary Sandeep Singh, UP’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi says, “As per your letter dated May 19, you have expressed your inability to provide buses in Lucknow, and want to provide them in Ghaziabad and Noida.”
“Please provide 500 buses to the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad, by 12.00 noon. The DM Ghaziabad has been informed about this. The district administration will receive all the buses and utilise them,” he says.
8. Congress says buses will be sent by 5 pm. Priyanka’s office urges the government to prepare a list of the migrant workers and route map details. Reacting to the development, UP Congress Convenor (Media) Lalan Kumar told PTI, “It is a victory for the migrant labourers who are stuck at UP’s border. We feel happy that they will now be reunited with their families.”
9. The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday alleges that the list of buses submitted by the Congress to ferry migrant workers has registration numbers of scooters, three-wheelers and goods carriers. “The Congress has no sympathy for the migrants and just wanted to politicise their issue,” state minister Sidharth Nath Singh claims.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) May 19, 2020
Congress denies the allegation. Party leader Rajiv Shukla says that “when all the buses are lined up in Agra, anybody can go and check, why indulging in papers, but count the number of buses.” Congress leader Ajay Kumar claims the BJP has changed vehicles number to show discrepancies.
— Uttar Pradesh Minority Congress (@UDeptt) May 19, 2020
10. Priyanka Gandhi’s aides allege that the buses are standing on the UP-Rajasthan border in Uncha Nangla area but the Agra administration is not giving permission to enter UP. As per the letter written by Priyanka Gandhi’s office at 3.45 pm on Tuesday afternoon, the UP government has still not allowed the buses to enter into the state.
Supriya Shrinate, Priyanka Gandhi’s close aide, says now RTO is putting pressure on the bus owners to withdraw their buses.
— UP Congress (@INCUttarPradesh) May 19, 2020
In Agra, Congress workers sit on dharna and raise anti-police slogans. Congress leader Ajay Kumar says the party will ensure buses reach Agra even if the police does not allow movement. Later, UP Police removes Congress leaders from the site. A direct faceoff between Rajasthan and UP Police. Ajay Kumar picked up by police. Agra administration says he is not arrested, was simply evicted.
(with inputs from Nelanshu Shukla and Kumar Abhishek in Lucknow, Dev Ankur Wadhawan in Jaipur)