Migrants’ railway fares : Sonia Gandhi says Congress will pay


Led by President Sonia Gandhi, Congress announced Monday morning that it will bear the costs of railway tickets charged to migrants at a time when the Centre has been facing widespread criticism for the past two days for making the stranded workers pay for their return travel despite them suffering unemployment due to the lockdown.

The AICC said: “We still urge the Modi government not to stand on false prestige and formally reverse the earlier railway ministry order.” The party also released a copy of original railway order, leaving BJP and its allies such as Nitish Kumar frantically search for damage-control even as Congress ally and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav entered the ring to deliver a punch at Kumar before the poll-bound Bihar electoral gallery.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s dramatic early morning statement attacked the Modi government for not making migrant workers’ railway journey free and announced her party’s decision.

“The Indian National Congress has, therefore, taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant labourer and take necessary steps in this regard. This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them,” she said.

Gandhi said: “When the government can spend nearly `100 crore on transport and food for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the rail ministry has the largesse to donate `151 crore to the PM’s corona fund, then why can’t these essential members of our nation’s fabric be given a fraction of the same courtesy, especially free rail travel, at this hour of acute distress?”

Soon, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted a directive to all the PCCs to turn the issue into a “people’s movement”. Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivkumar tweeted: “As per the call given by our leader Smt. Sonia Gandhi, we are ready to bear the railway costs to bring Kannadigas back home. I appeal to @CMofKarnataka to take necessary action soon.” Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel said: “The Chhattisgarh Congress government has taken a commendable decision to bear the expenses of their rail journey to bring back labourers facing difficulties during this emergency.”

“We have decided that the state government will pay the railways for sending migrant labourers to other states from Rajasthan by special trains,” Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said