New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh's new chief minister Kamal Nath's remark that youth from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were taking away jobs in the state came under attack on Tuesday by several political parties, including its allies, who demanded that Congress President Rahul Gandhi clarify the issue.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went after Gandhi and Kamal Nath, accusing the Congress of indulging in "divisive politics".
Gandhi, who was asked about the remark, said he was not aware of the issue and he would discuss and get back to the media.
Taking umbrage at Kamal Nath's assertions, BJP national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya accused the Congress of playing divisive politics.
"Kamal Nath was born in Uttar Pradesh and it doesn`t suit him to speak against people of the state where he was born. It is unfortunate that the Congress is indulging in divisive politics seeking to pit one region against the other," said Vijayvargiya.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh also demanded Kamal Nath`s and Gandhi`s apology.
"I want to ask the Congress whether they believe in federalism or not, Both Kamal Nath and Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the nation particularly to the people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for this," said Singh.
Giriraj Singh said Nath was speaking the language of MNS chief Raj Thackeray and demanded Gandhi`s apology for the remark. He said people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh contributed their mite to wherever they went and wanted to know whether India was a union of states or not.
His colleagues Kiren Rijiju said this was not acceptable while Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was unfortunate. The BJP leaders also pointed out that Kamal Nath hailed from Uttar Pradesh and had settled down in Madhya Pradesh after doing business in West Bengal.
Immediately after taking oath as Chief Minister on Monday, Kamal Nath told the media that his government would give concessions to those who invested in Madhya Pradesh if they provided 70 per cent of the jobs to the locals. He had also said that people from other states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh took away the jobs of locals.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said earlier such remarks used to emanate from Maharashtra about workers and businessmen from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and now it had come from Madhya Pradesh.
"What Kamal Nath has said is very wrong. First people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were targeted in Maharashtra and now same is happening in Madhya Pradesh, this is unfortunate," SP supremo and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said.
RJD spokesperson and MP, Manoj Jha, said Kamal Nath`s remarks would go against the idea of India and appealed to the Congress party to exercise caution on the issue.
"If what Kamal Nath said is true then the remarks are very unfortunate. Such things destroy the very idea of India and reflect a narrow political mindset. I would urge the Congress leaders to refrain from saying such things," said the RJD spokesperson.
Congress MP Sushmita Deb said she was confident that Kamal Nath would clarify the issue and added as far she knew him he could never speak like this.