NEW DELHI: Stepping up its attack on Union minister Santosh Gangwar for saying that recruiters complain of lack of "quality people" in north India, the Congress on Monday demanded an apology from him, while its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asked him to provide figures for jobs given to people from that region in the last five years.
The Congress general secretary also posted a video of the interaction in Bareilly, held on Saturday, during which Gangwar said that recruiters complain of paucity of "quality people" in north India for the posts they wish to fill.
The minister represents Bareilly constituency in the Lok Sabha.
At the Congress briefing, party leader Rajiv Shukla said the minister's remarks that "youth of north India are not employable" is a very big insult to them. The government and the minister concerned should clarify their position. The minister should apologise or should say that this is the policy of the government."
Clarifying his remarks, Gangwar said that his statement "had different context".
"What I said had different context that there was lack of skills and the government has opened Skill Development Ministry," the Union labour minister added.
"Mr Minister, you have said such a big thing, so please also give the figures now. How many jobs you have given in the last five years and 100 days? How many jobs you have given to north Indians in the last five years? How many jobs were given under the skill India programme?" Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Do remember that figures of job losses are with the people," she added.
"Mr Minister, it has been more than five years of your government. There is no job creation. Whatever jobs were there, they have been snatched due to the economic slowdown brought by the government. You want to escape by insulting north Indians," she added.
Shukla also urged the government to take note of the serious problem of economy and unemployment and address the issue seriously and not be in a denial mode, as it was currently.
Shukla said, "If the country's labour minister himself is saying that the youth of north India is not employable, is incompetent and are not worthy of jobs, then the government's problem is over. This is a very serious issue."
He claimed that though the government has initiated the Skill India campaign but only 30 per cent of those enrolled have got jobs.
"The government should admit that there is a serious economic slowdown. This government is in a denial mode," he said.
Training his guns on the government, Shukla said, "it is only about speeches, statements and advertisements, there is nothing else."