In a move that may stretch the strained ties between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) further, the Sena has now announced a stir on March 17 to protest the Centre’s decision to go ahead with the controversial Jaitapur nuclear power project.
With stiff resistance from locals, the project has been mired in controversy since its inception. The Sena, which is supporting the locals, has been vocal about its opposition to the project. The firm stand to the plant was the key reason behind the party’s revival and its subsequent strong performance in Konkan.
Sena’s Ratnagiri MLA Uday Samant said the agitation was aimed at shutting down the local office of the plant. “We will not relent until the office is shut down. The Sena had promised the people they will not let the Centre go ahead with this project. We are maintaining our stance,” said Samant, adding the protest is to ensure “the message reaches the Prime Minister”.
“This is just the beginning of our protest. Our party chief Uddhav Thackeray had briefed the PM about the loss of livelihood that farmers and fishermen would face if the project goes through,” said Samant.
The Sena has been peeved with the Centre’s stated support for the project. Maharshtra power minister Chandrashekhar Bavankule, too, had earlier stated there is no opposition to the project in the government.