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With the Narendra Modi government announcing in the Lok Sabha that it did not have any data on deaths of migrant workers after the coronavirus lockdown, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted his outrage at the government’s inability to discuss the deaths and the loss of jobs due to the lockdown in view of the pandemic outbreak in the country.

In his tweet in Hindi, Gandhi, who is abroad with mother Sonia Gandhi for her health check, asked whether the government was not worried about the loss of lives when some 10 million people trekked from the cities and towns where they earned their livelihood as businesses, factories and real estate construction stopped operations.

Questioning the government, he asked if you didn’t count, did nobody die? The world saw them dying, the Congress leader said. The media was awash with reports of people finding their way home trekking  along highways at night to avoid the hot summer days and cooped up in trucks to escape detection by police when movement across state borders was difficult since most states had sealed their borders.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar had made a written reply to a question asked by 2 Congress MPs and an IUML MP. In another reply, Gangwar had said the government did not have any assessment of job losses of migrant labourers during the viral outbreak. There is no data on migrant deaths so the question of compensation does not arise, he added.

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Congress sources said Rahul Gandhi will return to India before the end of next week to attend the monsoon session. Sonia Gandhi, the interim Congress president, has been keeping unwell for the past few years. After handing over the party reins to her son, Sonia Gandhi had to take over as Congress president when Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress chief after the Lok Sabha election 2019 loss. 

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