One of the 50-odd Trinamul Congress-rented buses taking the MGNREGS job cardholders from Bengal to Delhi met with an accident near Jharkhand's Koderma early on Sunday morning.
A source said there were no casualties, but at least a dozen passengers suffered minor injuries after the bus hit a heap of earth by the road early on Sunday, when most of the 41 passengers were asleep.
The accident prompted a blame game between the BJP and Trinamul.
Around 3,500 job cardholders in 50-odd buses on Saturday started their journey for Delhi where Trinamul would hold a rally at the Jantar Mantar on October 3 to demand that the Narendra Modi government release wages due to workers under the 100 days' employment guarantee scheme and resume funding the central schemes in Bengal which it stopped.
"It was around 4.30am and most passengers were sleeping. Everyone fell off their seats. At least a dozen received injuries. We immediately decided to return to Purulia by renting another vehicle," said Ashok Kumar Mahato, Trinamul block president of Purulia's Puncha, who was on on the bus.
The protesters hired another bus from Jharkhand and reached Purulia on Sunday afternoon. The injured were treated at Purulia's Deben Mahato Sadar Hospital.
The BJP attacked the Trinamul dispensation for sending the poor job cardholders to Delhi by road when party leaders took flights.
"A bus got into an accident at Koderma and many of our fellow citizens got injured. The way TMC leaders are enjoying the luxury of flights and pushing these innocent people to the brink of life risk, it is condemnable. Please feel free to contact me for any assistance needed," Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar posted on X.
Trinamul leaders, in turn, attacked the BJP and the railway ministry, saying the poor had to travel by road as the railways cancelled the special train booked for them at the last minute.
"First @BJP4India halted funds meant for the rural poor of Bengal!. And then they cancelled the train that was supposed to carry the deprived beneficiaries to Delhi, forcing us to arrange for buses. Check your hands @DrSukantaBJP, they're red with the blood of those injured!" state industry minister Sashi Panja posted on X, referring to Majumdar's post.
A source in Trinamul said most of the 49 remaining buses crossed Lucknow by Sunday evening, and would reach Delhi early on Monday. "The buses have been delayed because of rampant checking by Uttar Pradesh police," said a Trinamul leader.