In a marked departure from his style of functioning Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (50) did a Raj Thackrey in the state by saying that the government would not allow the industries in Madhya Pradesh to give employment to people from other states. He attacked people from Bihar in particular in his speech.
Chouhan's reported statement came at a programme at Satna, about 485 kilometer north west from Bhopal on Thursday, ahead of ensuing civic bodies elections in the state. The elections are to be held in the next couple of months.
"Ye nahi hoga ki karkhana lage Satna me aur naukri karne wale aa jaayen Bihar se. Ye hum nahi hone denge. Yehin ke ladke, naujwan naukari karenge ye shart hamne laga di hai. (This should not happen that plants be established in Satna and people from Bihar get the jobs. We will not allow this. I have imposed the condition that the jobs be given to local youths only)", said Chouhan addressing the gathering at BTI Ground and striking a chord with the local people.
Chouhan's speech was surprising given the fact he never advocated regionalism in his four years tenure so far. The four years tenure includes three years in his first term. But tone and tenor of his speech is understandable in view of the party's comparatively unimpressive performance in Lok Sabha elections this year and tremendous pressure on the party leadership including Chouhan from within the party to perform in the civic bodies elections.
As compared to 25 seats in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 the party could get only 16 seats in Lok Sabha Elections this year whereas the Congress significantly improved its tally from four to 12 seats. Needless to mention, the party's performance put a question mark against Chouhan's leadership particularly in the backdrop of assembly elections in November last year when it was said that Chouhan's charisma helped the party retain its power.
Taking exception to Chouhan's statement the State Congress President Suresh Pachouri (57) said, "Shivraj Singh Chouhan belongs to a national party and holds a constitutional post. His statement is highly irresponsible. He can talk of giving preference to local youths in jobs but talking of not giving entry to people from other states is highly objectionable."