Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today derided Rahul Gandhi's move to meet migrant workers camping at a flyover in Delhi as "dramabaazi" and said the Congress should "be more responsible" while targeting the centre on migrants in distress because of the coronavirus lockdown.
"Instead of wasting the time of migrants and sitting with them, walk along with them and carry their suitcase. In Congress-ruled states, request for more trains so that more migrants can reach home. They call us dramebaaz. What about yesterday? That is dramabaazi," Nirmala Sitharaman said at her fifth press conference to share details of an economic stimulus package for various sectors hit by the virus crisis and weeks of lockdown.
"Let us deal more responsibly with this issue - this is my humble request to Sonia Gandhi," said Ms Sitharaman.
Rahul Gandhi on Saturday evening went to meet migrant workers camped out near a flyover in Delhi's southeast.
This was hours after the Congress MP urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "reconsider" the government's Rs 20 lakh crore coronavirus package and ensure direct cash transfers to stranded labourers and poor farmers, who are among the worst affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
In photos circulated on social media, Mr Gandhi can be seen wearing a face mask and sitting on the pavement as he talks to a small group of migrant labourers, some of whom were walking back to Uttar Pradesh and others to Madhya Pradesh. They had already walked 130 km from Ambala in Haryana.
The lockdown, which brought almost the entire economy to a standstill, left lakhs of migrants and daily wagers without jobs, money, food or shelter. And, with public transport shut during the lockdown, they had little choice but to walk hundreds of kilometres home.
Many have died in accidents or from hunger and exhaustion before they could reach home.