Priyanka Gandhi at CWC
Priyanka Gandhi at the Congress Working Committee | ANI Photo
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Lucknow: At the centre of the goof-up that has left the Congress red-faced in Uttar Pradesh over its offer of 1,000 buses for migrant workers is Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s personal aide Sandeep Singh, a former Leftist leader from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

On Wednesday, the three-day tussle between Vadra, the Congress general secretary in-charge for UP, and the Yogi Adityanath government came to an end with the Opposition party unable to fulfill its objective of providing transportation to migrant workers.

While the party has publicly blamed the Adityanath government for its unwillingness to work out a solution towards the plight of migrant workers, Congress sources told ThePrint that it was Vadra’s office that fell short on its promises.

The party has got huge media attention due to the controversy, but the ultimate result could have been different if Vadra’s office had done its homework on the list of buses, said the sources.

“If we senior leaders were handling the communication process between UP government and Priyanka Gandhi, then the result could have been different. An inexperienced team fell into the trap of BJP government,” said a senior member of UP Congress who didn’t wish to be named.

Singh, who joined Vadra’s team ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019, and Congress state president Ajay Lallu are facing an FIR for forgery of documents. Lallu was arrested late in the evening from Agra, where he was trying to secure permission for buses to enter from Rajasthan.

The immediate result for the party is nothing of what it planned to achieve amid a humanitarian crisis in the country. However, it is still claiming some success.

“As we all know, the Yogi government has followed arbitrary and archaic politics in the name of blocking these buses. Still, it has given a chance to Congress to be back in the limelight in UP,” said a source in the UP Congress. “Although there could be a different result if we had better homework.”

Both the party leaders highlighted that 586 buses were found to be in order, but even those weren’t allowed to operate.


Also read: Allahabad HC refuses to stay Yogi govt order barring private schools from hiking fees


The bus details blunder

The row started Monday when the Yogi Adityanath government accepted Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s offer of 1,000 buses to ferry labourers, in an apparent bid to hit several political targets.

Within hours of accepting the proposal, Awanish Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), asked Vadra’s office to provide the details of buses and drivers, and to send the buses to Lucknow. When the Congress protested this in an overnight drama, the government sought the buses at Noida and Ghaziabad borders Tuesday, along with fitness certificates and insurance documents among other details.

On Wednesday, the Adityanath government claimed that it unearthed massive irregularities in the list of documents related to the 1,000-plus vehicles submitted by Vadra’s team.

According to the government, documents related to 463 out of 1,049 buses offered were either fake or incomplete. Out of these, fitness certificates of 297 buses were not provided; 98 had numbers registered for ambulances, autos, bikes and other vehicles; and no data was available in the case of 70 vehicles.

UP Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma highlighted some of these numbers at a press interaction in the state capital.

Gandhi’s staff led the exercise

The entire Congress exercise, which came after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra raised the issue of UP government’s negligence towards migrant workers on social media, was led by her aide Sandeep Singh.

He handled official communication with Uttar Pradesh government officials regarding the permission for the buses.

Singh was a leader of the All India Students Association, the students’ wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), in Delhi’s JNU. He had grown close to former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who later attached her with Vadra after she became a party general secretary last year.

Zubair Khan, All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in-charge of UP Congress and former MLA from Rajasthan, coordinated the buses from Rajasthan. Rohit Choudhary, another AICC secretary in-charge of UP Congress, coordinated the activities at the Agra border in UP.

Other Vadra office staff were monitoring overall activities.


Also read: I walked with India’s migrant labourers. More than angry, they are hurt with Modi


What the Congress says

Prior to his arrest, Congress UP chief Ajay Lallu alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government was “messing” with the data.

“A list with details of 1,096 buses was submitted to the UP government by Priyanka Ji’s aide Sandeep Singh. Now, the state government is messing with the data,” he told ThePrint.

“We had brought more than 500 buses from Rajasthan and parked them at UP border, while more than 300 were parked at Delhi-Noida border, but the state government did not permit them to come inside UP,” he said.

According to Lallu, the vehicles were mostly sourced from private operators.

“We were ready to replace these vehicles (with document issues) after verifying their details. Our only assertion was that to allow us to send as many buses that were available now. We will soon arrange for the rest,” he said.

At a press conference Wednesday, UP Congress legislature party leader Aradhna Mishra also said the government has forcibly blocked all these buses.

They should have stopped only those buses that didn’t have fitness certificates in order. Rest of them should be allowed to operate, she said. “We are accepting if there is any mistake in the data of buses. We will verify it and can send more buses. But this government seems unwilling to give us permission for operating buses.”

Rebel MLA’s questions

Amid this controversy, Congress faced another blow to its campaign Tuesday after a rebel MLA questioned the party’s motives.

Aditi Singh, the Congress MLA from Raebareli who was once considered to be a close confidante of the Gandhi family, asked in a tweet what the need was for “stooping to such low-level of politics” in a time of crisis.

“What kind of cruel joke is it? If buses were indeed available then why were they not operated from Punjab and Maharashtra?” Singh asked. Praising CM Yogi Adityanath, she said he had previously worked for safe passage of UP students stuck in Rajasthan by arranging special buses last month.

The Congress party has distanced itself from her comments. It had submitted a letter to the UP Speaker in October last year, seeking Aditi’s disqualification as an MLA. She was accused of violating the party’s whip.

How BJP is cornering Congress

The rebel MLA’s statement has given the state BJP leaders additional space to corner the opposition.

“The statement of its own MLA must work as a reality check for the Congress. This is no time to trade verbal duels,” BJP state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told ThePrint.

Echoing similar sentiments, Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan said, “They were lying all along. If buses were available in the Congress-ruled states then why not they were made available from there? Why were forced into trucks? All this is just a big publicity stunt.”

However, this political dogfight sidelined the migrant workers, who were meant to benefit out of the clash.


Also read: I walked with India’s migrant labourers. More than angry, they are hurt with Modi


 

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30 Comments Share Your Views

30 COMMENTS

  1. This was a simple activity to manage- implement a promise by Ms. Vadra to transport migrants to UP.
    The execution of the project was bungled – a serious unforced error.
    Ms. Vadra – you cannot even come through on a simple promise like this, how can we trust the country’s leadership to you?
    Stay home and stick to your knitting.

  2. Yogi’s “trap” really???.
    We know there are certain launch pads across the LOC. But the many chances which the Congress are taking to Launch Priyanka Gandhi are unfortunately all are failing. 1)Rajasthan Congress government will charge for buses to transport students from kota & on the other hand Mrs vadra claims that she has 1000 buses to ferry but Yogi is not allowing. 2. Mrs. Vadra wants UP government to waive the electricity bills & on the other hand Rajasthan government has issued notice that if the electricity bill remain unpaid as on 1st June 2020 . They will charge 2% on total amount of 3 months bill .

  3. Once again, another inexperienced Gandhi was sent into the arena against a career politician. Could the results be more different? 2 National election defeats and political obsolescence in Andhra, Telangana, Delhi, and the latest Maharashtra and the Congress is yet to address its problems. The anti-BJP vote is keeping the Congress afloat but for how long? RaGa and Sister are useless.

  4. If a so called leader like Priyanka Vadra doesnt have the intellect to understand the political situation in the state and depends on the cronies known foe their anti India stand then what is the credibility of this person whom the congress chamchas in the media worship so much. Being leader is not a joke. A person has to work hard, sacrifice personal life, leave the comforts of their ivory towers and mix with the common man. Merely raising ruckus to encash on plight of the poor, getting photographed with them doesnt win you votes. This stategy of the Gandhi parivar has no buyers today. Why is the author blaming the Left advisors. The product being sold itself is bad.

  5. UP govt said some buses has no fc, o. K why did not allow remaining buses roughly it comes 600,there is no politics in cong it want to help as they requested on 16 but the govt permitted on 18th and the buses be at louknow is it correct, again cong requested the buses be at 2 places it took another one day, what we say record the buses and send the migrants and then announce the no of buses used how many be

  6. Good job Congress you caught the bjp off guard and now the uttar Pradesh government is doing all the drama
    Help the migrants that’s it best if luck Congress let the it cell say anything in there masters defence the Congress did a great job

  7. Vadra is another pappu. Immature and inexperienced felt very brainy.just by having surname vadra priyanka got in the trap.Its a cruel joke on the guest workers.State govts failed to provide food and shelter and calm them to wait till lockdown over and ordering landlords not to insist on rent would have solved the misery of migrants.The guest workers who are backbone of our growth were left to suffer.

  8. If anyone became trapped it is the BJP/Yogi led government. They showed a complete disregard to the migrants over politics! Just because they did not bring the buses they stopped them in order to prevent something positive from happening for poor migrants who are trapped in UP. The Yogi government is the most biased and hate filled government in all of India. Yogi should resign immediately as he is unfit for the job!

  9. Third person has lost, no matter which of the two persons have one in one upmanship. Very sensible reporting! A point noted by thoughtful readers.

  10. The plight and miseries of the migrant workers and labourers show failures of the state governments. Delhi government, Maharashtra government, Rajasthan government, Kerala government, Chatisgarh government have failed completely. They not only failed to provide food, shelter and transportation to the migrants but now migrants are carrying and spreading the China Corona Virus to the rural areas of UP, Bihar and Oddisha. Most of these migrants are coming from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahamdabad, Pune, etc places. Opposition parties have failed completely. She could have taken the buses to Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where also migrant workers and labourers needed them most.

    • Even the worst thing goes to Gujarat and Karnataka governmen. Kerala government is trying to do their best to protect migrant workers. Even the governor of the state, admires the Kerala CM for what he’s doing

  11. Induction of Sandeep Singh, a hard communist to support Priyanka Vadra proves that if Rahul Gandhi is Pappu, Priyanka Vadra is Pappi. Both have rusted mind sets that don’t believe in hard work. Instead they think that elections can be won by fooling people through just talking lies and telling fake stories. They have never taken any responsibility in government though they had plenty of opportunities in UPA1 and UPA2. They believe that voters can be influenced by just talking lofty things. Only stupids would think that such politicians can stand against leaders like Modi, a real politician. They are only destroying Congress and weakening the opposition. Essentially they are GOOD AT NOTHING and BAD AT EVERYTHING.

  12. When one is left red faced or misled it only proves that both the advise giver and advise taker do not have their brains in the right places.
    Use of two / three wheelers was made for carrying tons of fodder many decades ago. One with sharp memory and thinking mind would have kept that at the back of his mind to avoid being left red faced.
    It was is not something one can overlook easily, when the original thinker was recognized in Harvard but the desi’s ended up putting him in jail.

    • Even the worst thing goes to Gujarat and Karnataka governmen. Kerala government is trying to do their best to protect migrant workers. Even the governor of the state, admires the Kerala CM for what he’s doing.

  13. I thought you were to give account on both sides , but turned out be a page lifted from dairy of pradesh Congress committee:)

  14. Irrespective of how much the government bungles there are bigger bunglers in Congress. It is strange how a bunch of incompetent and inexperienced blunderers are endorsed by some leading ‘intellectuals’ who should know better.

  15. Let Priyanka Gandhi obtain the fitness cecertificate, Route Permit, insurance details of all the buses, those were sent to Kota, Rajasthan to bring UP students and other places to bring migrants. Cross check with Mparibahan website whether the said documents were valid as on date of journey ?

  16. Priyanks Vadra is a crook and political opportunist from the stable of the nasty Nehru Dynasty. It was a shameful deed which only she is capable. However, why not take more time and prepare a correct list? Why withdraw the virtual and imaginary busses? Unless even the remaining list is a fake and no bus was hired to transport the workers? Once again the malicious working of the congress criminal mind is exposed.

    • Rightly said: …. malicious and criminal mind … I wonder why Congress leaders can’t come up with solutions of India’s problems.

  17. With Shri Rahul Gandhi being joined by an equally clueless Smt Priyanka Vadra, Shri Narendra Modi is on a roll.

  18. Congress fell into a trap…. What rubbish! Stop the whitewash.
    C0ngress are just fu*king incompetent – that’s the explanation. They will have trouble even organising a root in a wh0reWh0use.

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