Denying that he'd made any xenophobic statements, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said people from all parts of the country were welcome with an open heart.
"Sab ka dil se swagat hai", Chouhan told HT when asked about his statements at a public meeting at Satna where he declared that workers from Bihar would not be allowed to take up jobs in the state.
The CM said he'd only called for a certain number of jobs to be made available to locals.
"Many times local residents don't benefit even though (their) land is used for setting up an industry and (local) environment is (adversely) affected. So 50 per cent jobs should be reserved for local residents. If necessary, training should be given so that locals can acquire the necessary skills" said Chouhan.
Later in a press release issued at Bhopal, Chouhan said people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, South India, Punjab or any other region of India should come to Madhya Pradesh. "Ham sab Bharat Ma ke lal, Bhed-bhav ka kahan sawal (We are all sons of India, hence where is the question of discrimination?)", he asked.
He said he regarded India as his mother and 'strongly oppose all such things which divide the countrymen'.