BJP ups ante against Mamata Banerjee government over Shramik trains

By Pragya Kaushika

New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to up the ante against Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and has launched an attack over its stance on trains carrying migrant labourers to the state in the crisis created by coronavirus.

A day after Railway Minister Piyush Goyal targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, party national general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh also hit out at the West Bengal government saying it has allowed far fewer trains compared to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

He said that Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien keeps searching for issues to target the central government.

"With due sympathies for every person walking on the road just want to bring to notice the politics played by some administrations. @AITCofficial leader @derekobrienmp keeps searching for issues to target Union Govt," Santhosh said in a tweet.

He said the West Bengal government has said it wants 105 trains by June 31 which is a "big,big joke" and accused the leadership of the ruling party in West Bengal of being "bereft of human values".

"Just want to remind him your leader till todate has allowed only 7 trains while UP (487) and Bihar (254) are far ahead of you. Your government tells it wants 105 trains till June 31. A big big joke... They are bereft of all human values.. @BJP4Bengal," he said.

Trinamool Congress and BJP leaders have traded charges on issues relating to migrant workers.

Santhosh also targeted the Congress and non-BJP governments in Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

"In the same way no of trains terminated at Jharkhand (48) , Rajasthan (22) and Chatthisgarh (2 ). Their national leaders want to pay for every ShramikSpecialTrains passengers. But their own State govts not letting migrant labourers," he said.

Santhosh said Railways has run 932 Shramik Special Trains. "Top originating states are Gujarat (360), Maharashtra (192), Punjab (129), Karnataka(60) ..Top destination states are UP (487) ,Bihar ( 254) , MP (79) . Nos tell the story and politics behind the narrative," he said.

BJP leader Sambit Patra too blamed West Bengal and Congress governments over the problems faced by migrants.

He said the government can run 300 trains daily which will send 5 lakh migrants to their homes. "Around 20 lakh workers want to go back to their villages. If 300 trains are allowed daily then we can send 20 lakh workers in four days back. But TMC and Congress governments are not permitting trains," Patra said while briefing the media.

Senior BJP leaders said the party will expose Mamata Banerjee government's "failures" in administering the state.

The BJP will also raise the issue of its public representatives "not having been allowed" to move out to help people who are starving, said a senior party leader.

Sources said the party will take to social media to question the failure of the state government in dealing with COVID-19 crisis and "harassment" meted out to the BJP leaders.

"There are issues related to COVID deaths, notices served to BJP leaders, refusal of curfew passes to them and above all refusal to let trains come. Now they have permitted few but they should have permitted a lot more. We would try to hold state government accountable for the plight of labourers," another BJP said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had on Thursday hit out at Banerjee saying the West Bengal government was accepting only 105 trains in a month for migrant labourers stranded in other states while the state needs 105 trains daily and it should speed up making adequate arrangements to receive its own migrants.

The minister expressed concern that there may be more cases of migrants and even children walking for hundreds of kilometres and resorting to other dangerous means if the state doesn't accept them.

He said many migrants want to return to the state and hoped that it would accept them with open arms.

Goyal's remark came in response to a tweet by Banerjee in which she said she announced that the state has arranged 105 additional special trains to bring back people stranded in different parts of the country.

The Indian Railways is running Shramik special trains in coordination with states to transport migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places to their native places. (ANI)