The Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to open an office in Mumbai, which is deemed as part of its migrant outreach programme, has drawn the ire of Maharashtra ministers who have termed the move as an eyewash to the people of UP and rather a step to further BJP’s “closeness with MNS” and “influence the BMC elections”.

The UP government has said that the initiative has been taken, keeping in view the horrid migrant crisis during the first Covid-19 lockdown back in 2020, to help people of the state connect with an official in times of crisis and help them return to Uttar Pradesh and/or help them find work according to their experience and skills set.

“In addition to this, migrants living in Mumbai will be made aware of the possibilities of investing in tourism, culture and other sectors in UP and they will be motivated to set up enterprises here. A favourable and attractive business environment will also be provided to them,” a government spokesman told The Times of India.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra cabinet minister Jayant Patil, reacting to the development, said that the citizens of UP and Bihar feel safe in the state, however, “these days one can see BJP’s closeness to MNS. Wonder if looking at this, just to comfort people from UP and Bihar these offices are opened in Mumbai”.

Another minister, Aslam Sheikh, mocked the UP government and said that if the latter focused on its own state then “they would not need to open an office in other states.”

Cabinet minister, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena’s youth icon Aditya Thackeray too reacted on the same. “It’s a new pattern, but every state was in contact with each other. Be it UP, Bihar or Kerala. Why the migrant crisis happened we know. But we have made arrangements for their stay, medical facility and food. Every state will have an embassy in another state – it’s a different matter. But the fact is, it’s the responsibility of the state where they are currently living in to take care of citizens no matter where they come from, and that is being done by the Maharashtra government,” he said.

On the other hand, MNS leaders welcomed the BJP’s decision to open a UP government office in Mumbai. “So what’s the problem? Do you know MNS has an office in Ayodhya? Proper Ayodhya! It’s people’s demand,” he said.

“Wherever the BJP has its own government, it doesn’t have any plan, but runs agenda in other states. They have to fight the BMC election, so now they have to think about north Indians. They must do development in their states so that their youths don’t come to other states,” Sheikh said.

“Persons from UP have made remarkable contributions in many fields like industry, service sector, retail trade, transport, food business, and films in Mumbai. There are many areas where they play an important role and are indispensable in the lives of Mumbaikars. Those belonging to UP have also done remarkable work in Mumbai in the field of industry and start-ups. They have also played a crucial role in industries like information technology, film, television, manufacturing, finance, food processing,” the TOI quoted a government spokesperson.

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