The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Maharashtra government made clear its intention to go ahead with the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, with or without ally Shiv Sena’s support.
Calling it the government’s priority, senior minister Eknath Khadse said the Sena’s opposition to the project will not affect the state’s stand.
The project is on track, Khadse said, while responding to a question raised by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Jaidev Gaikwad about the impact the bickering between the allies would have on the project.
“The project will benefit the country, as well as Maharashtra. We are certain the project must happen, and we will ensure that it happens,” Khadse said.
However, the Opposition refused to buy Khadse’s statement, as they pointed out how the Sena has kept opposing the project even after the two parties came to power at the Centre and state.
As recently as two weeks ago, Sena leaders, including a parliamentarian and two legislators, took a protest march to the plant’s site office and said it will not allow the office to function.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had said if the Centre was so keen on going ahead with the project, it should shift it to Gujarat.
Pointing to these instances, NCP legislator Sunil Tatkare said, “The Sena has, time and again, repeated its demand to scrap the project. Its chief Uddhav Thackeray has openly said the Sena will not allow the project. How will the government take the project ahead?”
The difference in opinion between the allies is an internal matter, Khadse said. “We will try and reach a consensus with the Sena. The opposition to the project might be Sena’s stand as a party, but we are clear the government’s stand is to back the project.”
Diwakar Raote, Sena legislator and transport minister, said his party will continue to oppose the project. “There has been no attempt by the BJP to reach a consensus. We we won’t let the project go through.”