In an exclusive interview with ANI on Wednesday, May 20, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman defended her criticism pertaining to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi's interaction with the migrant workers at Delhi's Sukhdev Vihar area on May 16. Sitharaman maintained that she did not respond to numerous Congress members describing her announcing the Aatmanirbhar Bharat economic package for 5 continuous days. However, she asserted that she had a right to comment when Gandhi was "chit-chatting" with migrant workers at a juncture when they were in distress.
Nirmala Sitharaman remarked, "If Congress can call a government official announcing a package at a time like this when everyone is asking for a stimulus. One said that it is like a TV serial- every day she comes at 4. The other said it is a drama. I didn't respond to any one of them. Even on the 5th day, I was announcing, I didn't respond to any one of them. If hours of announcing what package the government is going to give is called a drama or serial, stop playing the migrants while they are on the way walking- which puts our head down in worry. And at that time, you (Rahul Gandhi) go and have a gupshup! Don't I have a right to comment on it?"
#WATCH FM speaks on criticism from Congress leaders over economic package&migrant labourers' issue; "...If our official press conferences telling what package govt wants to give is called drama,stopping migrants, you go, sit&have a 'gupshup'! Don't I have right to comment on it?" pic.twitter.com/5rFGyTqu8v— ANI (@ANI) May 20, 2020
Rahul Gandhi interacted with 20 migrant workers hailing from Madhya Pradesh who were resting on a footpath on their way to Jhansi from Haryana. As per reports, volunteers from the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee arranged vehicles for the group to return to their hometown while following all social distancing norms. However, on May 17, Sitharaman termed Rahul Gandhi's conversation with the migrant workers as "dramebaazi" and appealed to Congress for working together with the government on this issue. She also requested Congress president Sonia Gandhi to deal with the migrant crisis more responsibly. The Union Finance Minister claimed that the Congress party was politicising the problems faced by migrant workers instead of asking the states ruled by them to arrange more trains for ferrying the migrant workers to their native places
#WATCH "I want to tell the opposition party that on the issue of migrants we all must work together.We are working with all states on this issue. With folded hands, I say to Sonia Gandhi ji that we must speak & deal with our migrants more responsibly": Finance Minister Sitharaman pic.twitter.com/fV96VwLPEW— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2020