Two days have passed since Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath blamed the state's unemployment problem on migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but the controversy is staunchly refusing to die down. Now, a case has been filed against him at a court in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district.
The petitioner, identified Tamanna Hashmi, said in the plea that Mr Nath's remark amounted to creating an atmosphere of distrust for migrant workers in Madhya Pradesh. It further sought that the chief minister be summoned to court for tendering an unconditional apology.
Mr Nath had made the remark while speaking on unemployment issues faced by the state. "A lot of industries here employ people from other states, such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I don't want to criticise them, but this is depriving the people of Madhya Pradesh of jobs," he said on Monday, before indicating that his government would incentivise industries that give 70% of their jobs to local residents.
The remark angered politicians cutting across party ranks, with everybody from the opposition BJP to ally Samajwadi Party slamming Mr Nath. "This is wrong. In Maharashtra, you hear questions like why have north Indians come here. Why are north Indians doing business here? The same questions come from Delhi. Now we have this coming from Madhya Pradesh," said Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya, for his part, cited the Madhya Pradesh chief minister's very own background to highlight the "hypocrisy" of his remark. Mr Nath was born in Uttar Pradesh and educated in West Bengal before moving to Madhya Pradesh to become a nine-time parliamentarian from Chhindwara.
The Janata Dal (United) government in Bihar also found Mr Nath's words "highly distasteful". "It is ironical that while Congress president Rahul Gandhi keeps talking about the constitution being threatened by the Narendra Modi government, a senior leader of his own party takes a stand that's nothing short of an assault on the country's federal structure," said party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar.
The BJP has sought an apology from Mr Gandhi on the issue.
(With inputs from ANI)