Highlights

  • Priyanka Gandhi counters PM Modi on 2020 migrant exodus during lockdown
  • Priyanka: We did our duty; govt abandoned people walking hundreds of km
  • PM Modi had accused Congress of instigating migrants to return home in 2020

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'Soch lijiye...': Priyanka Gandhi counters PM Modi on migrant exodus row

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was reportedly campaigning in Uttarakhand's Khatima from where incumbent CM of the BJP government Pushkar Singh Dhami is contesting.

While campaigning for the Uttarakhand elections, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra invoked the large-scale migrant exodus seen in 2020 during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

The issue recently came under the spotlight again after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cited it to attack Congress in Parliament. In a speech in Lok Sabha, PM Modi had accused Congress of instigating migrant labourers to leave the cities in which they were working to go to their home states when the first Covid wave struck. PM Modi said that Congress had distributed free tickets to migrants in Maharashtra to relieve the Covid burden on the state.

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Countering his charge, Priyanka Gandhi said that the Congress helped those abandoned by the state at a time of desperate need. "In Parliament, Prime Minister Modi said that Congress helped these people (migrant workers) and spread Covid by doing politics. What should we have done? Your brothers and sisters were walking on streets to reach here. They were on foot. There were no facilities. Should we have abandoned them? There were children who cycled 600 km from Delhi to Bihar with their parents riding pillion. I used to get messages from people who belonged to Uttarakhand, seeking help. They didn't have food," she said.

The Congress leader added, "We organised jeeps, buses (to transport them). Were we doing politics? We were fulfilling our duty. Our citizens who were alone, walking to their villages from big cities - they were abandoned by the government, but we helped, not for politics, but because it's our duty. Those who can't understand this, can they do development for you?"

She was reportedly campaigning in Uttarakhand's Khatima from where incumbent CM of the BJP government Pushkar Singh Dhami is contesting. He is facing Congress' Bhuwan Chandra Kapri.

The hill state will vote on February 14, and results will be announced on March 10.

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