New Delhi: The mass gathering of migrants from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the national capital on Saturday and their attempt to walk hundreds of miles to reach their native place has posed a serious challenge, feel several BJP leaders. However, the party has decided to not indulge in any blame game and is making all efforts to deal with this “unprecedented and panic-like” situation caused by the Covid-19.

Some BJP leaders termed the huge crowd converging at Anand Vihar ISBT as “unfortunate” and an event that should not have happened.

Meanwhile, BJP chief JP Nadda has been holding a daily meeting at 7 pm through videoconferencing with central officebearers, spokespersons and some of the state units. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan participated in one such meeting last week to work out better coordination in the exercise.

“There are three categories of migrants who want to go home during this pandemic. First, the daily wager who has lost his source of income. The second group is of those who have been asked to leave by their landlords as the latter fear they may spread the virus. The third category is of those who feel they will be safe in their own village or, if things go wrong, they would prefer to die in their village,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told ET.

BJP leaders defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to go for a lockdown, saying this was the only solution in a populous country like India. Lack of enough testing kits and facilities also necessitated this. “The prime minister has expressed a ‘heartfelt apology’ to the people in today’s Mann ki Baat for the hardships,” a BJP leader from UP said, adding that the PM has also appealed to the people that they should stay where they are and not rush to their villages.

A senior BJP leader, preferring anonymity, said UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath should have refrained from announcing that 1,000 buses will take these migrants home as this had led to the situation at ISBT. “A staggered, planned shifting of people in groups would have been better,” he said.

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said: “(Delhi CM) Kejriwal should use the government school premises for feeding these people and provide them shelter till arrangements are made for them to leave Delhi. The food packets can also be deposited at various police stations and the police can distribute them to the people,” he told ET.

Atrocities by police personnel against those walking miles to their homes have irked some party leaders. Though assembly elections in Bihar are some months away, there are apprehensions in some quarters that wrong steps may dent the party’s prospects to some extent.

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