Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Narayan Rane on Wednesday accused the Centre of planning to shift the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to New Delhi and dilute Mumbai's status as the country's commercial capital.
Rane, who is state industry minister, said the process has already begun by moving out three RBI departments out of Mumbai a couple of months ago, but declined to name them.
"We shall strongly oppose any such move to downgrade Mumbai's global status as well as reduce its importance as the commercial capital of India. I have already written to CM Prithviraj Chavan and Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar to intervene in the matter," Rane told mediapersons in Mumbai.
He added that various governments at the Centre have been eyeing the status of Mumbai island and many decades ago, even the late Morarji Desai had attempted to link the city with Gujarat.
However, following a massive agitation (1956-196) and sacrifice of 105 people, Mumbai (then called Bombay) was retained with Maharashtra and the Marathi-speaking state was separated from Gujarat in the erstwhile bilingual Bombay state.
He added that besides plans to shift RBI, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre was also considering making Mumbai a centrally administered union territory by separating it from Maharashtra.
This proposal, which had been raised several times in the past, had been strongly opposed by all political parties in Maharashtra, pointed out Rane, who is also the Congress campaign chief for the Oct 15 state assembly elections.
"The Centre has also decided to divert all container business from Mumbai Port Trust to Gujarat for the development of that state. This would leave around 1,800 acres of land free for sale to an industrialist close the ruling BJP... The land is worth around Rs.75,000 crore," alleged Rane.
He warned that the Congress would oppose these moves with agitations around the state against the Narendra Modi government.