Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (50) said at a public gathering that local industry should employ locals, not Biharis, but rushed to retract when he found his remark had provoked outrage.
“Ye nahi hoga ki karkhana lage Satna mein aur naukri karne wale aa jaayen Bihar se (We can’t allow factories coming up in Satna to employ only people from Bihar),” Chouhan said on Thursday at Satna, 480 km from Bhopal, in words reminiscent of Raj Thackeray. He added that industries would be allowed in the region only on condition they employed local youth.
The reaction was immediate. “Chouhan belongs to a national party and holds a constitutional post. His statement is highly irresponsible,” said Suresh Pachauri, MP Congress president. “It is an extremely objectionable remark. It is the
constitutional right of people to go from one state to another to get jobs,” said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a letter to Chouhan.
On Friday, Chouhan denied the statements. “I only meant a certain number of jobs should be made available to locals... Often they don’t derive benefit from industries in their area, even though their lands were taken away,” he told HT.