At the centre of a controversy over his remarks insinuating that youths in his state were losing out on jobs to migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath Wednesday said other states including Gujarat also have policies giving employment preference to locals. The ‘job deprivation’ remarks made by Nath soon after taking oath on Monday had drawn all-round criticism, with parties like the BJP, RJD and JD(U) expressing their disapproval. Defending his comments, Nath told reporters here on Wednesday, “Such policy exists in other states also. Is it not there in Gujarat? What is new in it?”
The chief minister was speaking after chairing a high-level meeting of police officers at the police headquarters here. Announcing a new state government policy under which industries availing investment incentives will need to give 70 per cent employment to local youths, 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)”.
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“So those who want to come here and take advantage of the investment policies will have to give employment to 70 per cent locals of Madhya Pradesh. I have already signed on the file in this regard”, he had said soon after being sworn in as the state’s new chief minister. The BJP-ruled Gujarat had witnessed protests against migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in October this year. Asked about his meeting with police officials, Nath said the morale of the police force should remain intact and “the police uniform be respected”.