Political parties in Uttar Pradesh today accused the Congress and its government in Rajasthan of double standards over buses for migrant workers as the UP government cleared a Rs 36 lakh bill sent by Rajasthan for sending back UP students stranded in Kota.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati criticised the Rajasthan government for its "disgusting politics" between neighbouring states.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Lucknow cleared Rajasthan government's bill within hours of receiving it on Thursday, though there appears to have been a reminder earlier. The bill came soon after the row over a Congress offer to send 1,000 buses to bring Uttar Pradesh's migrants home.
Uttar Pradesh's BJP government had rejected the Congress offer, saying the buses lacked proper documents and many registered numbers submitted in list were not even buses but vehicles like autorickshaws and trucks.
As it settled the bill, UP government took a dig at the Congress over its government in Rajasthan sending "reminder after reminder" for the money while talking about helping migrants return home.
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma also alleged that the Congress had not made arrangements for fuel and drivers deployed by it as part of its rejected bus offer had to protest for their food.
Last month, the Uttar Pradesh government brought back thousands of students stranded in Kota due to the lockdown to fight coronavirus, sending UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses.
UPSRTC managing director Raj Shekhar said Friday that the number of students was more than what they had expected so they sought additional buses from Rajasthan government.
The additional Rajasthan Roadways buses brought the students to Agra and Mathura in UP.
Dinesh Sharma said UP had sent 560 buses, but realised later than more students wanted to come back. Rajasthan Roadways provided them after getting an undertaking in writing that they will be paid by UP.
He said the UP government on May 5 cleared a bill for Rs 19.76 lakh, related to Rajasthan's expenses on diesel for the buses. But it received another reminder for the money for the 94 buses.
"This is their sensitivity. They are sending reminder after reminder to realise the bill for bringing innocent children and at the same time saying that they are providing buses from Rajasthan for UP migrants," Mr Sharma said, referring to the recent row over the Congress bus offer.
He said such "double standards" are unbecoming of the national party.
"The Congress needs to introspect and apologise to the nation and the migrants publicly for its act. Doing politics by raking up new issues reflects narrow mindedness," he told reporters.
On the buses massed recently by the Congress at the UP-Rajasthan border, Mr Sharma alleged that the party made no provision for fuel and food.
Should we have let our migrants take the risk of travelling like this? When there was no food for the drivers how would it have been arranged for the migrants?"
He called sending a bill to bring home children "shameful".
On Twitter, BSP president Mayawati also criticised the Rajasthan government for the "arbitrary fare" it had charged and reminded it of the bus offer made by the Congress for migrant labourers going home to UP.
Mr Sharma claimed he had came to know through news channels that thousands of migrant workers are roaming about hungry on roads in Rajasthan and Punjab and there is "chaos" in Maharashtra.
Criticising the governments in those states, the minister said they are not worried about the workers there but offering help to Uttar Pradesh where, according to him, 27,000 buses and 1,000 trains have already brought home lakhs of migrants.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)