Mumbai, May 22
Congress President Sonia Gandhi began a meeting via video conferencing, with nearly 17 opposition leaders to discuss the coronavirus crisis and the large movement of migrant labourers to their native states, on Friday.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, JMM leader Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, DMK leader MK Stalin, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray were part of the meeting.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his aerial survey of the areas affected by cyclone Amphan in the state, was scheduled to attend the videoconference, after her tour.
The focus of meeting was on coronavirus crisis with an emphasis on the “tremendous difficulties” faced by migrant labourers returning to their homes in different states. It also discussed the prolonged lock out and it adverse effect on economy, loss of employment, falling growth rate etc. The Opposition has already criticised the PM’s 20 trillion relief package, to stabilise economy, following coronavirus pandemic.
Rendered jobless due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, which began on March 25, and desperate to get home, thousands of migrant workers across the country have been marching on the state highways to their native places on foot, on bicycles or packed into trucks. Notably, many of them have lost their lives in accidents in different parts of the country, a statement issued by the Congress party said.
The Opposition has been criticising the Centre over its handling of the migrant crisis. The Congress and other opposition parties have also attacked the Centre for allowing BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to amend labour laws to lure foreign investors and to strip workers of their basic rights.
Last week, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen interacting with a group of migrants in the national capital. Later, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attacked the Congress leader and called the stint as nothing but ‘dramabaazi’. “I am urging the opposition party very politely, folding my hands and requesting them here. We must all come together and help migrant labourers in this crisis,” Sitharaman stated. She also appealed to Sonia Gandhi with ‘folded hands’ to speak about migrant workers more responsibly.
- Published in News