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Yogi-Priyanka row over migrants: Has Covid crisis brought out the worst in Indian politics?

The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has asked Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi to send 500 buses each to Noida and Ghaziabad for migrant workers.

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The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has asked Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi to send 500 buses each to Noida and Ghaziabad for migrant workers. This came hours after a war of words between the UP CM and Gandhi, and a day after the UP government agreed to Gandhi’s offer to provide 1,000 buses. The state government has alleged that the Congress’ list of buses includes the registration numbers of two-wheelers and autos.

ThePrint asks: Yogi-Priyanka row over migrants: Has Covid crisis brought out the worst in Indian politics?

Priyanka Gandhi shouldn’t be engaging in petty politics. Covid is no time to attack each other

Chandra Mohan
BJP UP spokesperson

If you look at how the Covid pandemic has affected the entire world, India is lucky to be led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Likewise, Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state in the country, is lucky to be led by chief minister Yogi Adityanath. He has adopted strategies and protocols that have shown the state’s preparedness, commitment and aggressive hand in fighting the virus. If someone is to be blamed, it is the Tablighi Jamaat members who hid their identities and let the infection spread from a gathering in New Delhi to several states, including UP.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi shouldn’t be engaging in petty politics. This is the time for people across party lines to pool in their efforts, and not attack one another.

The UP government has been working relentlessly to bring 15 lakh people back to the state. UP’s migrant workers are coming back from Punjab, Rajasthan, Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra. And why are they all flocking back to UP? It is because they trust their native state led by Adityanath. They believe that in UP, “har haath ko kaam milega” (there will be work for everyone).

Yogi Aditynath is working to protect and uplift 23 crore people in his state while the Opposition prefers to throw stones and provoke him.

Priyanka Gandhi is trying to help migrants reach home. Yogi govt must prioritise workers, not politics

Deepak Singh
Congress leader and Member of Legislative Council, Uttar Pradesh

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi wishes to help those migrant workers who are walking home in the May heat. Meanwhile, the BJP is still preoccupied with politics and is attempting to manipulate the media through press conferences and interactions.

When Priyanka Gandhi, on behalf of the Congress party, offered Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath 1,000 buses to ferry migrant workers, his government should not have tried to inspect the offer like an LTO (Land Transportation Office). The Uttar Pradesh government should prioritise the well-being of migrant workers and do everything in their power to help them reach home. Instead, it is doing the opposite and wasting time as thousands suffer. It shows that the government would rather prioritise politics over the lives of innocent people, and even children.

If anything, policies such as MGNREGS and Right to Food that were introduced by the Congress government years ago are now coming in handy during the Covid crisis. The Modi government is wielding these schemes as its own. But, this is the wrong time to play politics. We are facing a crisis that calls for cooperation and public service.

Job of ruling party to engage opposition and work against Covid. Opposition, on its own, can’t instruct bureaucracy 

Rasheed Kidwai
ORF visiting fellow, author and journalist

The political ‘tu, tu, main, main’ during the coronavirus pandemic in India is most unfortunate and undemocratic. Both the ruling BJP and the opposition share the blame, but not in equal measure.

Democracy is all about for the people. The Yogi Adityanath administration and Priyanka Gandhi supporters are not helping the cause of migrant labourers by blocking passage and delaying relief measures.

Uttar Pradesh’s bizarre and selfish slugfest comes at a time when democracy and political civility is offering exemplary and workable solutions. Yogi Adityanath and Priyanka Gandhi need to look at the conduct of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte who appointed Martin van Rijn, the rival Labour party MP, as the country’s new health minister to help combat Covid-19, for next three months.

Can we even imagine anything like this in India? There are many states such as Rajasthan, Kerala, and Chhattisgarh where state governments have done well in the fight against the coronavirus, but their efforts have not been appreciated by the NDA government.

It is primarily the job of the ruling party-coalition to engage the opposition. Opposition, on its own, cannot mobilise or instruct the bureaucracy or administration to deliver anything on the ground.

Politicisation of issues in crisis acts as checks and balances against hurried decisions. Yogi-Priyanka row normal

Rahul Verma
Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

Political activity was in suspended animation since the first lockdown was announced in mid-March. However, in a democracy like India, politics must resume its normal course, keeping the incumbents in check. And, partisan blame-game is just part and parcel of political systems.

I wouldn’t call the Yogi Adityanath and Priyanka Gandhi row the worst form of politics because, at the moment, the Central and the state governments are taking critical decisions with regard to lives and livelihoods. Without politicisation of these decisions, there are no checks and balances. For sure, no one knows what the best course of action should be during these uncertain times, and therefore, politicisation of these moments acts as an important corrective mechanism. It blunts the edges of a coercive state, gives voice to those who want to be heard.

Lakhs of migrant workers from Delhi and other urban centres are trying to return home. The Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath is doing a fairly decent job in handling this crisis. However, the state alone cannot tackle such a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Priyanka Gandhi’s offer to provide 1,000 buses for migrant workers only to claim that half were stopped at the UP-Rajasthan border is part of normal political tussle. Perhaps, the silver lining in all of this is that the UP government did not summarily reject her offer and everyday politicking is making a comeback. This lies at the heart of democratic accountability.

Also read: Yogi govt law on intentional infectors: Is criminalising the right way to fight Covid?

By Pia Krishnankutty, journalist at ThePrint

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  1. The buses were rejected because they were more dangerous than the coronavirus. Possibly Priyanka’s stock would have gone up. Rejection has not made any better.

  2. Why does no Congress leader own up the sheer and brazen falsification of the numbers and instead, only indulge in attacking the BJP/ Yogi? They tried a cheap publicity stunt, and failed. Now they want to appear virtuous too? Lies and false statements seem to have become a permanent staple in the Congress reach to people.

  3. Mr. Print team how dare you call in worst in Indian politics when Mrs Priyanka is involved?

  4. The most ‘ cat on the wall’, opinion is of Rasheed Kidwai, blaming boath sides equally. Given the facts, this is clearly not correct. That the buses on the list offered by Priyanka Vadra, were not road worthy, and that some were 2 and 3 wheelers and lorries, shows the politics of her party at play. They did not expect the UP government to agree to their offer, and were left flatfooted when the permission came.
    The congresswalla makes the most bizarre and irresponsible demand. Government should ignore the standard safety requirements for passenger busses. This takes the cake.

  5. Please remember that PriyankaG is a nobody & has never held either junior or senior management roles in Govt or in the business world.
    Are dynasty & inheritance sufficient qualifications in modern India?

  6. The Opposition – most of all the Congress – is too enfeebled to matter. This is the government’s hour, to provide the leadership the country requires to emerge relatively unscathed from the pandemic. Any constructive suggestions the opposition makes, or noble gestures like paying for train tickets, arranging buses, should be appreciated and welcomed as strengthening the government’s hands.

  7. The author means to ask “has crisis brought out the worst in Congress politics?

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