Shiv Sena leader and Worli legislator Aaditya Thackeray termed the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government as unconstitutional and incompetent, and blamed it for the State losing the $20 billion Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor unit to Gujarat.
In an exclusive conversation with The Hindu on Friday, Mr. Thackeray said Chief Minister Shinde was busy going on cultural tours, while the Industries Minister Uday Samant was busy pleasing the CM. “They aren’t interested in infrastructure works, sustainable development or bringing projects for jobs,” he alleged.
It was “very clear” that the government was caught unawares of the project’s move to Gujarat, despite the High Power Committee meeting and the package being offered, he said. “It’s sad that we have an unconstitutional arrangement that’s only indulging in dirty politics and hasn’t realised that it has lost out on 1.7 lakh jobs with two projects (Vedanta-Foxconn and Bulk Drug Park) going away to other States,” the Yuva Sena president said.
Role of Maha Vikas Adhadi
Responding to the Shinde-Fadnavis government’s allegations that the previous Maha Vikas Adhadi (MHV) government didn’t pursue the project meticulously and opposed other mega projects that could have benefited the State, the young Thackeray, said “if we didn’t do so, how did Vedanta issue the Letter of Interest and how did it come to a stage of HPC? Had we not pursued it, it would have fizzled long back. The duty of the government is to explain how it lost out on the project, not justify and represent another State and blame us. The unconstitutional governing arrangement needs to realise that they hold power, albeit illegally. They need to move from the allegation mindset to answer the people.”
When asked why the previous MVA government led by his father and then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray couldn't finalise the deal during the two-and-half-years term, he pointed out that the talks formally began only in January after the Centre’s subsidy proposal in December 2021 for semiconductor chip production.
“Talegaon was finalised and the leaked comparisons of two locations justify Talegaon. Unfortunately, the government changed and the new dispensation lost it,” he said.
Mr. Thackeray said that he has nothing to say about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to Mr. Shinde about getting a similar project or even a better one. “We are focussed on the current loss due to the incompetence of the CM and Industries Minister.”
Speaking about the impact of the project’s loss on the forthcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, he pointed out that the government should first call for the elections. “They’re scared of elections. People know that this unconstitutional government doesn’t speak for the interest of Maharashtra,” he said.
Apart from Vedanta-Foxconn, the current government lost out on the Bulk Drug Park, which would have created another 70,000 jobs, he said, and hoped the government would wake up and chase Airbus-Tata (military aircraft production unit) for Nagpur.
Reacting sharply to the Vedanta Resources Limited (VRL) chairman Anil Agawaral’s tweets about investing in new projects in Maharashtra, the former minister said “it’s unfortunate that they (VRL) were made to tweet to justify the failure of the Maharashtra Chief Minister.”
Besides, Mr. Thackeray raised several pertinent questions with regard to the details of the project — will it be bigger than the semiconductor unit, how many jobs will create and when will it start?