The Congress on Sunday hit back at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for describing Rahul Gandhi's interaction with a group of labourers on their way home a drama, and demanded that she and Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to migrant workers.
The country will not spare Sitharaman for this insult of lakhs of migrant labourers and workers, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
"Do the woes and helplessness of migrants walking down to their homes thirsty and hungry look like 'dramebaazi' to the government... Please do not insult the lakhs of workers and the country will not spare you for doing so. This insensitive and 'sahukaar' government and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman should apologise to the workers of the country," he said in a video message.
Surjewala said Rahul Gandhi met the migrants to share their pain in this hour of crisis. "If sharing pain is a crime, then the Congress will repeat this crime again. If hearing out the woes of labourers about this insensitive government is a crime, then Rahul Gandhi will commit this crime again," he said.
Another party leader, Anand Sharma said one expects certain degree of seriousness and gravitas when a finance minister is addressing an official press conference.
"She should answer questions; she should not ask questions. Congress President Sonia Gandhi does not have to learn from Nirmala Sitharaman about how to conduct, answer and what genuine compassion the Congress Party have about the suffering migrant labourers and our solidarity to them." he said at a press conference.
"We don't intend to play politics, but, the fact is, it is almost two months they are suffering, because, it was without any planning, without any preparedness, without any coordination with the states the lockdown was imposed in 4 hours and tens of millions were left stranded," Sharma said.
He said the government has to answer and apologise to these poor citizens of India who have been left abandoned and their fundamental and legal rights snatched.
Sitharaman on Sunday said Gandhi is doing drama and asked political parties to refrain from politicising the plight of migrant workers and behave responsibly on the issue.
After announcing the Rs 20-lakh crore economic package, she said the government would seek cooperation from all parties including the Congress to resolve the issue.
Referring to Gandhi's interaction with a group of migrant workers returning their home on Saturday, Sitharaman said, "They are adding to misery of migrant labourers, who are walking on their foot to their home, by stopping them and talking. It would be much better, if they could walk along with with them and also carry their yoke or their children".
"They are calling us dramabaaz. What happened yesterday by stopping migrants and interacting with them on the road and wasting their time? Aren't they dramabaaz?"