Mumbai: A pre-poll survey which indicated fewer seats for the BJP and the Shiv Sena in the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly polls — if they chose to contest separately — seems to have brought BJP to the ground with a thud. Which is the reason for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reaching out to ally Sena — he has done this by staying the land acquisition process for the controversial petrochemical project at Nanar in Ratnagiri district.
In another conciliatory move, the BJP has decided to give away two vacant constitutional posts, one each in the council and the assembly, to the Sena. Fadnavis announced the stay on the land acquisition in the assembly on Wednesday. His announcement should come as a great relief to the Sena as well as the Nanar residents who were opposed to the project. The decision to stay the land acquisition was taken after consulting Uddhav Thackeray, said Fadnavis.
The U-turn has come within four months. On July 11, the CM had stated in the Council that the Konkan coast refinery would be constructed as planned, while at the same time, discussions with all stakeholders would be held.Taking offence, Sena leader Subhash Desai, who is minister for industries, unilaterally announced the de-notification of the land acquisition process in the presence of his party boss Uddhav Thackeray in Rastnagiri district. Fadnavis had later clarified that Desai did not have powers to cancel the land acquisition, but by then the damage was done and the Sena was able to create a public perception that the project would play havoc with the ecology of the region.
A Sena legislator, requesting confidentiality, said he was present in the House, when the CM announced the stay on Wednesday. “The BJP is not strong enough to return to power in the state on its own. It will need Sena’s support to form the government. That is why the CM does not want to make Sena unhappy. This is the reason for cancellation of the land acquisition process and the decision will be effective until the 2019 assembly polls.” In another move, the BJP has decided to fill the vacant post of the deputy speaker of the assembly. It has offered this post to the Sena. Vijay Auty, a third-time legislator from Parner constituency in Ahmednagar district, is tipped for the post. In the Upper House, the BJP has offered Sena the vacant post of vice-chairman. Dr Neelam Gorhe and Gopikishan Bajoria are in the running for this position.
Protest drowns in Saryu!
Taking a dig at CM Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said in the Assembly on Wednesday: “Their (the Shiv Sena’s) resignation letters are lying in the Sarayu now.” Looking in the direction of Vikhe Patil, Fadnavis quipped, “You don’t worry. Both of us (the Sena and the BJP) are together and there is no need for any resignations”. “Since we both are together, you stand no chance (of returning to power). You will have to sit there (on Opposition benches) for another 10 to 15 years.” Senior Sena leader Ramdas Kadam had famously said last year that he and his ministerial colleagues in the BJP-led government are carrying resignation letters in their pockets and waiting for the party chief’s directions.