Sonia Gandhi has offered to pay for all migrant labour returning home via buses and trained after being stranded for nearly five weeks. The lockdown saw hundreds and hundreds of crying labourers pleading to go home – these are images few will forget from the coronavirus triggered country wide lockdown. Even for an apolitical person like me, this move of Gandhi appears not just humane but something many other politicians could stand up for. She announced that her party units from different states would bear the cost of rail travel for migrant labourers. As the lockdown was further extended for two weeks until May 17, the government started running special trains for the stranded workers to travel their home states. Maharashtra’s Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government also said it would pay the fare for those returning to the state by special trains.

Sonia Gandhi hasn’t spoken much on the lockdown but with this, she has hit out where it hurts. Many on social media, even the apolitical experts, are calling her move was a welcome one given the circumstances. Sonia Gandhi said,”Our workers and labourers form the backbone of our economy. Their hard work and sacrifice are the foundation of our nation. 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 shall take necessary steps in this regard”.

Also Read:  27 Corona Warriors Selflessly Working To Help Others During COVID-19

“When our government can recognise its responsibility by arranging free air travel for our citizens stranded abroad, when the government can spend nearly Rs 100 crores on transport and food etc. for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate Rs 151 crores 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,” Sonia Gandhi wrote in her statement this morning.

Sonia Gandhi migrant labour statement hit out where it hurts. Sonia Gandhi not only portrayed herself as humane but also astute

An independent expert who didn’t want to be named said, “Who charges migrant labour for returning home? Sonia Gandhi picked the right moment to lash out.”

“There are two things that have been quickly established by Sonia Gandhi- First, she managed to create her image of being humane as well as do alignment with the future issues of poor people. The second thing she managed to do was create an image for herself of being someone who could extend beyond their capabilities because nobody quite believes that the Congress party has offered to pay the bill. So with this, she created an image for herself as someone who is willing to extend beyond their capabilities, in times of thinking outside the box,” Dilip Cherian, communications consultant.

Divya Rawat is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.