Covid-19: There is no one reason for migrant movement, says BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

Updated on Mar 29, 2020 06:30 PM IST

Coronavirus: BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe responded to criticism from the opposition that the central government hadn’t anticipated the movement of migrant workers and was taken by surprise

Covid-19: BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said there were multiple reasons why people were on the move(Ajay Aggarwal/HT Photo)
Covid-19: BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said there were multiple reasons why people were on the move(Ajay Aggarwal/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

In the wake of widespread criticism from the opposition that the central government didn’t anticipate the movement of workers and was unprepared to handle the situation, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said that party leaders had been tasked to reach out to people with the message to stay put where they are.

Following the 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there has been an en-mass movement of migrant workers on foot, defying the lockdown, and increasing the risk of Covid-19 spread.

BJP national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, however, said the problem of migrant workers defying the lockdown cannot be attributed to any one reason alone. He said in some places while it is concern about food and safety, in other places, the movement has been caused by the emotional need to be with one’s family.

“In Delhi’s Dwarka we were told by a group of people that they do not need money or food, but would feel emotionally secure by being with their family,” he said.

A Rajya Sabha MP, Sahasrabuddhe who is also in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP recently returned to power, said several states are facing the problem of workers either returning or leaving.

“The problem is not uniform, so there cannot be a single solution. For instance, in southern MP in the areas of Chhindwara, Dindori, the workers are mostly farmers who had gone to Maharashtra and are returning. In Bhind, Morena and adjoining areas, it is the transiting worker population travelling between Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Cramped living spaces with minimal amenities that could exacerbate the spread of infection, was also pointed out as a reason for homeward journeys by some, the BJP MP said.

Incidentally, on Saturday, a few BJP leaders including the general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh had blamed the AAP government in Delhi for the migrants leaving the city.

“Migrant workers tell on camera that they were told that buses will be there at Anand Vihar. DTC buses drop them to Anand Vihar. Some forces want India to fail when India fights corona. Nation will not forgive them,” he had tweeted.

CPI general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam also wrote to PM Modi to provide services to the migrants.

“While this measure (lockdown) is important to prevent the spread of the virus, there are many sections of people who have not been provided with enough social security measures to cope with the lockdown. A particularly vulnerable section of them are migrant workers who are stranded in places far away from their own homes and villages. Various media outlets from across the country have reported that these migrant workers are being forced to embark on long journeys on foot to reach their villages” Viswam wrote.

BJP and RSS cadre have opened community kitchens and are also involved in distribution of sanitation products. But on Sunday, after the Union government instructed states to ramp up measures to prevent the movement of workers and ensure they have food, wage and are not forced to pay rent; the party also stepped up its efforts to allay concerns.

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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