The Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction is persisting with its attack on the BJP and the central government over a Rs 22,000-crore airplane manufacturing unit being set up in Gujarat instead of Maharashtra. “Ridiculous and lame excuses are now being made,” said its spokesperson, Arvind Sawant, speaking to NDTV.
He said the Maharashtra government led by Eknath Shinde — who leads a breakaway Sena faction — is “a slave” of the BJP, majority partner in the ruling alliance.
“The Centre and BJP are against Maharashtra — the way they have been acting in the past and the present shows that,” Mr Sawant, a Lok Sabha member, claimed, adding, ““Maharashtra is the most conducive state for development of projects. Mumbai is the financial capital of India. The world knows that. Yet, they want to damage its image.”
Besides the Tata-Airbus project, he mentioned the Vedanta-FoxConn unit for manufacturing semi-conductor chips, which was reported to be originally for Maharashtra but went to Gujarat a few months ago.
“The PM (Narendra Modi) had said a bigger project would be given to Maharashtra… We have no grudges against Gujarat. We want it to develop too. But is there no other state in the country?” he further said.
He said it “does look like” it’s because of elections in Gujarat, due by the end of this year.
But Maharashtra minister Uday Samant has said the airplane unit deal for Gujarat was signed by the Centre in September last year, when Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government — which comprised the Congress and NCP too — was in power in the state.
Accusing the Opposition of creating “confusion”, he added, “Be it the Vedanta-Foxconn project or the Tata-Airbus project, the decision about where to set up these projects was taken before this (Eknath Shinde-led) government came to power in the state late June this year.”
Mr Sawant said this argument is “unfair” to the MVA and goes against the BJP’s claim that having a “double engine” government — same party in power as the Centre — would help states.
He underlined that Chief Minister Shinde’s loyalist Uday Samant, the minister for industry, had said In September this year that the Tata-Airbus project would come up near Nagpur in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
The unit to be set up by the consortium of Airbus and the Tata group will manufacture C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Vadodara in Gujarat. This would mean a military plane being produced in India for the first time by a private company.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday lay the foundation.