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Will Nanar refinery row wash out Maharashtra legislature’s monsoon session?

The state Assembly on Friday was adjourned for the third consecutive day over Rs 3-lakh-crore project.

mumbai Updated: Jul 14, 2018 12:46 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Maharashtra legislature,monsoon session
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis arrives outside Vidhan Bhavan in Nagpur on Friday. (Sunny Shende)

The state’s monsoon session of the legislature is likely to be a washout over the Nanar oil refinery issue with both the Shiv Sena and Opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) firm on their demand to scrap the project.

On Friday, the state Assembly was adjourned for the third consecutive day over the ₹3-lakh-crore project, even after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis insisted the project would not be imposed on locals forcefully. “Let me assure the House that only when we convince people and a majority agree on the Nanar project, will we take a step forward,” said Fadnavis, in his statement.

He also offered to make a detailed presentation on the oil refinery project in front of all party leaders, including Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, to address their concerns over the alleged negative impact of the project. “We can’t be seen as diluting our stand on the issue, when the Congress is getting aggressive over it. The BJP made the mistake of signing an MOU on the project, even after the CM promised party chief Uddhav Thackeray that the government was going slow on it,” said a senior Sena functionary.

He said the party’s strategy at this stage was to disrupt the House next week too.

In the Assembly, the Opposition remained unconvinced with the CM’s statement, with leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil as well as NCP state president Jayant Patil demanding the CM denotify the land acquisition for the project. “You should spell out whether you are in favour of this project or not and if you will go ahead with it. We want an answer in yes or no, and whether you are willing to pay the political price for the project,” said Patil.

Sena legislator Sunil Prabhu also reiterated his party’s “permanent opposition” to the refinery in sync with the sentiment of the locals. “The Sena is with the people of these villages who have opposed the project. We believe it is a destructive project. We don’t want presentations. Just announce you are scrapping the project and take back the land acquisition notice,” he said.

Vikhe-Patil pointed to Sena’s hypocrisy in opposing the project while staying in power.

Interestingly, even as Sena legislators were protesting in the well of the House, Sena minister of state Sanjay Rathod tabled a bill in the Assembly.

The state Assembly cleared three bills in the din over the project.

First Published: Jul 14, 2018 12:46 IST