Even at a time when the country is unitedly putting up a brave fight against the spread of the coronavirus, the principal opposition party, the Indian National Congress, has exploited the crisis by engaging in petty politics and potentially sabotaging the central’s government’s efforts to contain the raging pandemic.
Recently, the Congress General Secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, violated the government-mandated Inter-state travel guidelines and employed her personal resources to extract 72 stranded migrant labours to Amethi from the coronavirus-ravaged Rajasthan, a state ruled by the Congress party. The migrant workers were then sent to their respective homes after their medical check-up was carried out.
#अमेठी:राजस्थान के भरतपुर व गुजरात की सीमा में फंसे 72 मजदूरों को अपने निजी संसाधन से कांग्रेस के राष्ट्रीय महासचिव प्रियंका गांधी वाड्रा ने अमेठी पहुंचाया, सभी को मेडिकल चेकअप के बाद उनके घर तक पहुंचाने का प्रबंध जिला अध्यक्ष प्रदीप सिंघल ने किया @amethicongress @priyankagandhi pic.twitter.com/T3uyF6qDrV— AMETHI LIVE (@AmethiliveCom) May 3, 2020
However, Priyanka Gandhi’s supposed act of benevolence, designed to garner sympathy from the migrant workers of Amethi, the district where her brother Rahul Gandhi was trounced by the BJP stalwart Smriti Irani in the 2019 General Elections, spelt doom for the region which was a green zone until the arrival of migrant workers from Rajasthan. As one of the persons who were brought back to UP from Rajasthan by Priyanka Gandhi has now tested positive for Coronavirus.
The Amethi District Officer wrote a letter to the UP government, informing them about the arrival of migrant workers from Rajasthan and Coronavirus red zones such as Ajmer without any prior notice to the local administration. The letter dated May 2 said that a bus was stopped at the Inhauna border of the Amethi district carried 28 passengers, and a driver and a cleaner, who had a travel pass authorised by Ajmer District Magistrate along with the medical reports of 29 people. Out of the 28 passengers, 11 of them were women.
The District Magistrate, Arun Kumar, mentioned that all the members of the Bus had been mandatorily quarantined as per the government notification and their swab samples had been sent to test for the coronavirus. Citing the Home Ministry guidelines for Inter-district and Inter-state movement of individuals except for medical reasons and another provision that enables the transfer of migrant workers from one state to another with their mutual consultation and agreement, Kumar claimed that the Ajmer District Magistrate authorised travel pass in gross violation of the guidelines issued by the central government.
Furthermore, the letter asserts that neither the state administration nor the district administration in UP was informed before the generation of Inter-State vehicle pass by the Ajmer District Magistrate. He also added that the Bus was not stopped at Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh border and was intercepted only at the Amethi district border.
Highlighting that it is a matter of grave concern that people from COVID-19 red zones such as Ajmer are being allowed to freely travel across the country, Kumar urged the UP government to take necessary action in this regard.
Days after the Amethi District Magistrate wrote the worrying letter to the Uttar Pradesh government, one of the 28 people who had returned to Amethi in the bus from Ajmer has tested positive for the coronavirus. The patient is a 45-year-old woman named Shah Bano, a resident of Kamroli. The reports of 7 others had come back negative while the reports of remaining passengers are still awaited. The administration now fears the spectre of lurking coronavirus cases in the district, especially after the Congress party facilitated the return of migrant workers from Rajasthan which is reeling under the scourge of coronavirus outbreak.
Another shocking incident is that while the migrants who come from Rajasthan were kept in quarantine by Amethi administration, district Congress president Pradeep Singhal and other local Congress leaders visited the camp to distribute relief material. People are kept in quarantine to keep them out of contact with other people, but Congress leaders went to the camp to meet them, which is a complete violation of norms. According to reports, Pradeep Singhal also managed to get the bus to cross the state border using his connections.
So while the Congress party unabashedly gloats that its leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra deployed private resources to get back distraught migrant workers, it is worth noting that her endeavour of scoring a few political brownie points amidst the pandemic has not only undermined the district’s battle against the Coronavirus but has also massively jeopardised the safety of people in Amethi and denuded it of its green zone status.
After the first COVID-19 case was detected in Amethi, the district administration ordered to seal the area to contain the spread of the virus. Therefore, the area which could have enjoyed the relaxations from 4th May as a green zone had to go into restriction because the Wuhan Coronavirus was brought to the place from Rajasthan by the Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.