Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 09, 2020: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has dismissed as "propaganda" a report on Union Minister Smriti Irani helping migrant workers from her parliamentary constituency Amethi allegedly stranded in Wayanad because of the coronavirus lockdown.
The report added another layer to the Smriti Irani versus Rahul Gandhi row since the Congress leader lost his three-time constituency Amethi in last year’s national election. While Smriti Irani won from Amethi, Rahul Gandhi won his second election contest at Wayanad in Kerala, NDTV reported.
On Monday, the RSS mouthpiece ’’Organiser’’ carried a report titled ’’Smriti Irani helps starving daily wagers of Amethi stranded in Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad Constituency’’.
RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. The report said Ms Irani’s "timely intervention" had saved 35 migrant workers stranded in Malappuram, which is part of the Wayanad parliamentary constituency.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who met the media after the COVID-19 evaluation meet yesterday, refuted the report and said the workers were fine.
"When we enquired about it, we found that 41 guest workers (migrant workers) were staying together at a place and the panchayat officials had provided 25 kits to them as they had stated that they would cook for themselves. There was no shortage of food there," he said.
"We saw a propaganda piece being circulated through ’Organiser’ of RSS saying that the timely intervention of Smriti Irani helped the starving workers from Amethi. Just want to make one thing clear. The state has been assisting the guest workers and all other hard-hit people of the state," said Mr Vijayan.
"There should be no competition or misleading propaganda that might disrupt or undermine the efforts of the state," he added.
The Amethi vs Wayanad politics has been playing out on social media in the middle of the nation’s coronavirus crisis.
On Saturday, a report said Rahul Gandhi had sent 12,000 sanitisers, 20,000 face masks and 10,000 soaps to Amethi. The Congress MP had also sent wheat to his former constituency, said reports. These reports were trashed by BJP leaders.