In a statement signifying a hardening of the Shiv Sena's stand against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant, executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said he would soon visit the place and force the project out.

“There is huge opposition to the harmful project. The Sena is on the side of the people. [We say] no means no! I will personally visit Jaitapur soon and [start a drive for] ‘Chale Jao'. If the people do not want the project, the Sena does not want it either,” Mr. Thackeray said after a meeting with party leaders here.

He criticised Industries Minister Narayan Rane and the Maharashtra government for using coercive tactics. “If the government has the courage, it should start the project in Naxal-dominated areas,” he said.

“If arm-twisting methods are used, the andolan can go to any extreme. We will not allow development at the cost of the people. The andolan has to spread throughout Maharashtra. The Sena will never stand in the way of development, but we do not agree with development that is harmful,” said Mr. Thackeray. He said rehabilitation was not an issue. “For the villagers, land is the mother.”

Sena leader Subhash Desai said Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan should not talk about technology. “We should think seriously about what has happened in Japan. The government should not use relief package as a carrot to burden people with the project.”