Under fire for awarding the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project to Gujarat, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday that Gujarat was “no Pakistan,” and also accused the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of graft. When the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government was in power, a “ten percent commission” had to be paid to obtain any subsidy, according to the BJP leader, and Gujarat surged ahead during this time.
Fadnavis singled out the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena for opposing big-ticket projects like a refinery in Ratnagiri and the Vadhavan port in Palghar, as well as stalling the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train and Mumbai Metro phase 3. After taking over as deputy chief minister, Fadnavis met with Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal and offered the company a tailor-made package to match the Gujarat offer, but he was told that a decision to move the project to the neighbouring state was in the final stages, he said.
The decision was taken even before we came to power. When we came to power, we tried every bit. The ones who did nothing are pointing fingers at us, Fadnavis said. Maharashtra fell behind Gujarat in attracting foreign investment during the MVA’s tenure but in the next two years the present government would take Maharashtra ahead, said Fadnavis. “Gujarat is no Pakistan. It is our brother. This is a healthy competition. We want to get ahead of Karnataka, everyone, Fadnavis said.
However, replying to Fadnavis’ statements, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said, “Is Maharashtra Pakistan that you drove the project to Gujarat? What mistake has the youth of Maharashtra done?”
Fadnavis’ Attack on MVA
The opposition’s policy was to “stop everything”, and with such policy Maharashtra could not beat Gujarat, he said. Foreign investment in the state in 2013 was $6 billion which rose to $26 billion when he was chief minister during 2014 to 2019, Fadnavis claimed. Unfortunately, in the last two years our position slipped and Gujarat topped the list and it went from USD 3 billion to USD 23 billion and investment in Maharashtra came down from USD 26 billion to USD 18 billion,” the deputy CM said.
One can not beat the neighbouring state by “simply making statements” but policies are needed for it, he said. He also alleged that commission had to be paid when the MVA was in power for every subsidy.
In the last two years, for every subsidy announced, a 10 per cent commission had to be paid….From 2014-19, not a single paisa had to be given. If you have to pay bribe for getting subsidy then imagine the situation, he said, without naming the MVA. Jamnagar refinery and Mundra port are key pillars of Gujarat’s economy and the proposed refinery in Ratnagiri was supposed to be three times as big as the Jamnagar one, Fadnavis said.
But due to loss of time (on account of opposition to the project) the investment will be scaled down and Maharashtra had lost an opportunity, he said.
With inputs from PTI