Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was slammed by the BJP and its ally JD(U) for his comments linking youth of his state being deprived of jobs to migrants coming from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
On Monday, after taking oath as CM, Nath made these remarks. As the matter snowballed into a political row, Congress president Rahul Gandhi told reporters he will look into it and offer a reply later.
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'People of UP, Bihar come to MP but locals don't get jobs here': Kamal Nath's sops for industries trigger storm
Kamal Nath is a nine-time MP from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.
In Bhopal, Nath had said, "Lot of industries are set up in which people from other states, like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, come to work. I do not want to criticise them, but the youth of Madhya Pradesh are deprived (of jobs)."
On this BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya took a dig at him wondering whether whatever he has said should be implemented in politics as well.
The BJP leader said the Congress leader was born in Kanpur, studied in West Bangal and has now become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, as he accused the new chief minister of promoting divisive politics and regional chauvinism.
"Such a statement does not behove a chief minister," he said.
Former CM of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, who was a Congress ally in the state assembly polls last year, said Nath's comments were wrong. He said such statements targeting people from north India are often made by some leaders in Maharashtra and asserted it is the north Indians who decide who will rule the country.
Outside Nath's residence in the national capital, the Delhi BJP unit staged a protest. They painted his nameplate black.
In Patna, Congress was isolated as its ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) criticised Nath with its spokesman Bhai Virendra saying such comments should be avoided as every citizen of the country is free to live and work anywhere.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), a BJP ally, hits out at the Congress. It is ironical that Rahul Gandhi keeps talking about the Constitution being under threat from the Narendra Modi government but a senior leader of his own party takes a stand that is nothing short of an assault on the country's federal structure, said JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.
Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai alleged the Congress has started spewing the venom of parochialism no sooner than it won power in Madhya Pradesh.
"It should apologise to the people of UP and Bihar, though this may be expecting too much from a party which is yet to express regret over the role of its Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakore in attacks on Biharis in the western state," he said.
However, state Congress working president Kaukab Qadri defended Nath, saying he was not spreading hatred against people of UP and Bihar, or threatening to drive them out, something which was witnessed in the BJP-ruled Gujarat and which has been a pet theme of Shiv Sena, the BJP's ally in Maharashtra.
He said Nath's thrust was on giving incentives to employment-generating industries in the state, which he will be governing. CPI asked Nath not to "follow the ideals" of the Shiv Sena and as moving from one state to the other for employment is a common phenomenon.
Speaking to reporters in Parliament complex in the national capital, union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh lashed out at Nath and sought an apology from Gandhi.
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(With PTI inputs)