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In a snub to BJP, Uddhahv refuses meeting with Maharashtra finance minister

The BJP is making overtures after its oldest ally announced that it will contest all elections sans alliance with the BJP.

mumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2018 15:29 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
BJP,Uddhav Thackeray,Maharashtra
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis (L) with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray(HT File)

In a snub to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday did not give an appointment to state finance minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar for a meeting.

The BJP leader had sought time to meet Thackeray at his residence in Bandra (East) on Monday evening. The BJP is making overtures after its oldest ally announced that it will contest all elections sans alliance with the BJP.

A senior Sena leader said, “He (Mungantiwar) had sought a meeting with Uddhav ji, but he did not give him an appointment today.” The leader added that the Sena is expecting the BJP to ask Thackeray to reconsider the party’s stand on the alliance through Mungantiwar.

Last week, BJP president Amit Shah reached out to Shiv Sena in his speech in Mumbai. He had said that he “sincerely wishes that the Shiv Sena stays with the BJP” for the next elections.

Meanwhile, continuing it’s attack on chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Shiv Sena on Monday slammed the Maharashtra CM over the proposed mega-refinery at Ratnagiri’s Nanar.

The Sena, in an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said that if the CM fears that the project would go to neighbouring state of Gujarat, they should build the refinery in Vidarbha instead

. “The CM said that if the opposition to the [refinery] project continues, it would go to Gujarat. Does the CM think that the Nanar project is Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train?” the Marathi daily said.

It added, “Don’t threaten that the project would go to Gujarat. Instead, take the project elsewhere in the state. We say set up the refinery in Vidarbha or Marathwada; it would create 1 lakh jobs in the region and bring prosperity there. The CM’s dream of ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ would also inch forward.”

Last week, Thackeray said that Fadnavis had “betrayed” the people of Konkan for thrusting the project on them. The proposed oil refinery at Nanar in the ecologically-sensitive Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra has emerged as the latest flashpoint between the Sena and the BJP in the state.

The editorial added that the party is not against development. However, it should not be done at the cost of the livelihood and environmental degradation of the region. “Shiv Sena has never opposed development and will never do so. The Sena has not opposed projects like the Left parties and later like (West Bengal chief minister) Mamata (Banerjee) did to drive Tata’s Nano project out of Singur. Sena doesn’t oppose to gain political mileage...agriculture, tourism, fishing and mango farming have been source of livelihood for the people of Konkan for generations. A project that would hamper and destroy that should not be thrust on the people of the region,” the editorial added.

The Nanar project is a joint-venture between the consortium of three Indian oil companies comprising IOC, BPCL and HPCL, and oil giant Saudi Aramco. It is likely to bring investment of up to Rs1 lakh crore and create one lakh jobs. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Aramco and Indian consortium on April 13.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 15:29 IST