AMETHI: Union minister Smriti Irani Friday asked why Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was "silent" when Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath had said that people from UP and Bihar get employment in MP at the cost of the local population.
"Why was Rahul silent when Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath spoke against people from UP and Bihar working in that state? How will he look into the eyes of people in Amethi today?" she said, ahead of Gandhi's visit to his Lok Sabha constituency.
Irani was on a day's visit to Amethi, about 140km from the state capital Lucknow.
For her visit, local BJP leaders had put up posters seeking an explanation from the Congress president on Kamal Nath's statement on workers from UP and Bihar.
One of the posters carried a collage of newspaper clippings of his statement.
Similarly for Gandhi's visit later in the day, Congress workers have put up posters praising him over the party's victories in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
"Teen rajyon ki jeet ke baad swagat (Welcome after victory in three states," read a poster.
Another said, "Amethi ke MP, 2019 ke PM (Amethi MP is future PM).
Irani had unsuccessfully contested against Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and they are likely to fight again from Amethi in the general election later this year.
Soon after being sworn in as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Kamal Nath had announced a new state government policy under which industries availing investment incentives will need to give 70 per cent employment to the local youth.
He 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). 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," he had said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had hit out at Kamal Nath.
Congress legislature party leader Ajay Kumar 'Lalu' had said the statement was "misinterpreted."