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Vedanta-Foxconn project shift | Oppsition: Letter to Vedanta shows Centre’s dominance over CM

On Friday, The Indian Express reported that on July 26, the Maharashtra CM had assured Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal in a letter that the state was “moving ahead expeditiously” on the group's two key requests – seeking Central government alignment and cabinet approval – with regard to the project.

The Shinde camp, though, chose to remain quiet about the letter from the CM, claiming they will express their concerns in front of Shinde only. (Express Photo)

A day after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s letter on following “central government alignment” on Vedanta-Foxconn issue came to the fore, Opposition parties in the state said the “expose” proves that the Centre always held an upper hand over Shinde-led Maharashtra government in the matter of the coveted semiconductor plant project.

On Friday, The Indian Express reported that on July 26, the Maharashtra CM had assured Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal in a letter that the state was “moving ahead expeditiously” on the group’s two key requests – seeking Central government alignment and cabinet approval – with regard to the project.

The Shinde camp, though, chose to remain quiet about the letter from the CM, claiming they will express their concerns in front of Shinde only.

Maharashtra unit president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Jayant Patil told The Indian Express: “It (the letter) shows that Shinde-Fadnavis government did not have any idea of what was going on about the project. While the CM was busy attending political rallies and making his MLAs happy, he ignored the state’s development.”

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Patil also questioned the need to shift the project to Gujarat if Shinde had accepted to be in Central government’s alignment. “The CM and Deputy CM (Devendra Fadnavis) must tender an apology to the youth of this state. They did nothing to ensure the project comes to Maharashtra, they held no follow up,” he added.

The Uddhav Thackeray led Sena said the letter makes it clear that the Centre was interfering in the project. “They had tweeted on July 26 that the Vedanta project is coming to Maharashtra. Even in the Assembly, CM Shinde had said Vedanta is coming with Rs 4 lakh crore of investment. It looked like they were pretty confident. Now the question is how did the project suddenly went there (Gujarat)? That too when the Maharashtra government had offered Rs 10,000 crore more than Gujarat,” Shiv Sena MLC Sachin Ahir said.

When asked if he felt there was an intervention from Central government, Ahir said it looked “pretty obvious” given the impending elections in Gujarat where they “need to show something”.

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Chief spokesperson of Maharashtra Congress Atul Londhe said the state government’s “absolute surrender” in front of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government, and especially in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is evident through the latest developments.

“It seems the Shinde-Fadnavis government had already decided to give up on the project under pressure from Gujarat’s BJP leadership. Why should any state government be forced to align with Centre? Will the project not go to the state if the government is not aligned? We did not expect our Chief Minister would surrender in front of ‘Mahashakti’ in this manner,” he said.

While a few MLAs from the Shinde camp claimed they were unaware about the issue and the exact details of the developments which have transpired, others chose to not speak at all. At least two legislators said they will soon meet CM Shinde and “understand the issue”.

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Sunil Shelke, NCP’s Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Talegaon Dabhade constituency in Pune, where the project was expected to be set up, said the project would have helped several locals generate income.

First published on: 17-09-2022 at 03:05:23 am
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