Rahul Gandhi meets, helped migrants at Sukhdev Vihar in Delhi

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday released photographs and videos of Rahul Gandhi interacting with migrants walking from Ambala in Haryana and going towards Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi sat on the pavement and gave the migrant workers a patient hearing and assured them of help in reaching their homes, Congress leaders claimed.

Sources close to Gandhi said he had hour-long meeting with a group of 20 migrants, including women and children.

Mahesh Kumar, a migrant worker from Madhya Pradesh who along with 14 of his family members was sitting at the footpath, narrated his tale of woe to the former Congress chief.

“It was nice talking to him. At least someone heard us and our problems,” Mahesh added.

Later, the Congress claimed that the police detained some of the labourers in preventive custody after they meet Gandhi, saying they have “directions from the top to do so”.

Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra later tweeted thanking Rahul Gandhi and saying that someone has to talk to these migrant labourers and hear their ordeal.

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“These are our own people. We will have to sit and talk with them. Their suffering has to be shared. They are nation builders. We cannot leave them alone in this time of crisis. Thank you my leader Rahul Gandhi,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.

Asked at a Congress media briefing about Rahul’s meeting and the police allegedly detaining the workers, Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said eight crore migrants were interested in returning to their homes and Gandhi was only trying to meet them and hear their grievances.

“They cannot even meet Rahul Gandhi. What is the reason of their detention. They should not even tell Rahul Gandhi that the government has done nothing for them so far,” he told reporters.

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A Delhi Congress leader said that Gandhi was passing from Sukhdev Vihar when he spotted the migrant workers stopped by the police. He intervened and talked to the migrant workers and assured them help.

Later, several Congress workers led by Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary reached there and arranged help for the migrant workers.

Chaudhary said that around 15-20 migrants, including women, children and elderly, were walking from Haryana to their native place in Jhansi, when they were stopped by the police near Modi Mill flyover.

He said that Delhi Congress arranged 8-10 vehicles to carry the migrant workers following the social distancing norms.

The Congress has been highlighting the problem of migrant labourers and workers walking on the roads without food and water. It has been demanding direct cash transfer to them along with free ration and has asked the government to ensure their safe transport back to their homes.

Migrant labourers in large numbers have been seen walking down the roads in the absence of public transport amid the lockdown in their bid to return to their native villages.

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