On the very day that an MLA of the Indian National Congress (INC) in Uttar Pradesh found Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath doing a much better job than Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, who is allegedly indulging in ‘bus politics’, the state government has moved against the personal secretary of the opposition party’s general secretary Sandeep Singh and the UP Congress head Ajay Kumar Lallu by way of an FIR.
Uttar Pradesh is witnessing the opposition INC and the BJP government in loggerheads over the issue of bus service for carrying stranded migrant workers home amid the lockdown. An FIR has been filed against Sandeep Singh, private secretary of Gandhi-Vadra, and UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu, alleging malpractices in sending the list of buses to the Uttar Pradesh government.
The state government alleges that registration numbers of auto-rickshaws, ambulances and motorcycles were found in what was supposed to be a list of buses. The number of some of the buses could not be verified.
The FIR says further that some of the buses numbered in the INC list are stolen properties! The police in Lucknow have registered a case of fraud against the named INC workers.
Yet another case has been registered against Ajay Kumar Lallu and Vivek Bansal at the Fatehpur Sikri police station in Lucknow after Lucknow. The alleged offenders have been slapped with Sections 188 and 269 of the IPC and the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Section 188 of the IPC deals with “disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant”. Section 269 of the IPC applies to a negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life.
The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, promulgated on 22 April, amends the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to provide for the prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases. The Ordinance amends the Act to include protections for healthcare personnel combatting epidemic diseases and expands the powers of the central government to prevent the spread of such diseases.
The INC has rejected the Uttar Pradesh government’s allegation. It has challenged the Yogi government to conduct a physical verification of the buses.
‘Bus politics’ slammed by INC’s own MLA
However, punching a big hole in the Congress rejection of the FIRs, INC MLA from Rae Bareli Aditi Singh had earlier in the day questioned Gandhi-Vadra about the need for “low politics” at the time of the coronavirus disaster. She asked where these so-called buses were when thousands of people from Uttar Pradesh were stranded in Rajasthan’s Kota (in an INC-ruled state). Singh praised Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while taunting the leadership of her own party.
The MLA of Rae Bareli Sadar, which falls within the Lok Sabha constituency of INC interim president Sonia Gandhi, alleged fraud over half the bus allocations by politicians of her own party. Singh said 297 of the buses were ramshackle, 98 of the rest were actually auto-rickshaws and ambulance-like vehicles and 68 vehicles had no legal documents.
“If there were so many buses, why were they not sent to Rajasthan, Punjab and Maharashtra?” Singh asked, naming states that were either INC-ruled or where her party was part of the ruling coalition.
In a tweet, Singh wrote even Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was full of praise for his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath.