"What is new about what I said? Local people must receive preference."
Bhopal: Despite widespread criticism from political allies and adversaries alike, chief minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday stuck by his previous remark that migrants from UP and Bihar were taking away jobs in Madhya Pradesh.
Kamal Nath made the controversial remark on Monday, just hours after the oath-taking ceremony. The seasoned politician had said that incentives would only be given to companies which have at least 70% local staffing. His remark was slammed by several politicians from UP and Bihar who said that he was going the Shiv Sena way where the party had targeted migrants from UP and Bihar in Maharashtra. Unfazed, Kamal Nath said on Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with his remark. "What is new in what I said? Local people must receive preference. These (UP and Bihar) are just places," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Sticking to his remark is likely to further infuriate political rivals - especially in BJP. Many of them have said that Kamal Nath's views reveals the Congress' mentality of 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," BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had said earlier.
The BJP has also asked Rahul Gandhi to give an explanation but the Congress president ducked accusations by saying he was not aware of what was said.