Return of migrants from Bihar to workplace in Telangana triggers political spat

Patna, May 8 (PTI) The return of over 200 workers from Bihar to work in Telangana triggered a war of words between the RJD and the BJP on Friday, with the opposition party leader Tejashwi Yadav accusing the state government of forcing the labourers to migrate during a lockdown.

But the Bihar BJP hit back at Yadav, charging him with playing 'Twitter politics' from Delhi instead of hitting the ground back home and serving the people in the hour of need.

District Magistrate Alok Ranjan Ghosh said 222 workers from Khagaria and neighbouring districts, who had been stuck since their return for Holi, departed for Telangana on Thursday aboard trains which had brought over 1,000 workers from the southern state the previous night.

Yadav seethed at the workers returning to Telangana to resume work at rice mills and blamed the Bihar government's policy of 'forced exodus for the reverse migration'.

The leader of opposition also attacked Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, calling him 'an immigrant from Rajasthan' who has, in the 15 years of sharing power with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, reduced Bihar into a source of cheap labour.

While all states are bringing their people back, those at the helm of affairs in Bihar are in a self-congratulatory mood for driving out its people, Yadav alleged.

Modi has hailed the return of workers to Telangana as a recognition of Shram Shakti (the power of labour) of Bihar. On Thursday, he claimed workers from many parts of the state were preferring to resume work, notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic, and the rice mill workers had been incentivized by the Telangana government with a special package.

The state BJP criticised Yadav for sitting in Delhi during a pandemic.

'We thought Tejashwi Yadav goes to Delhi for lessons in political science from Manoj Jha (RJD Rajya Sabha member and Delhi University academician), but it seems he is interested in economics as well,' said BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand in a statement.

But he would have done better to go to Sushil Modi who has handled the finance portfolio for a decade and a half, Anand said, adding, 'Instead he is making a fool of himself by resorting to fanciful terminology like forced exodus and reverse migration.' Every day migrants from other parts of the country are returning to Bihar in droves and they are being welcomed and taken care of by the state government, he said.

'Tejashwi Yadav seems unable to understand that this does not mean the state government will start putting hurdles in the way of those who wish to return to their workplaces elsewhere,' the BJP spokesman added.

A spat has been on for quite some time between the states ruling dispensation and the opposition over the fate of migrants, who have been rendered jobless, even homeless, and vulnerable to the highly contagious coronavirus, in the wake of the lockdown. PTI NAC SNS ABH ABH