Mumbai: After his terse message to the Bharatiya Janata Party on seat-sharing last week, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has declared that the fate of the alliance between the Sena and the BJP hinges on the Aarey issue.
This comes a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis batted for a metro carshed in Aarey. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has warned the plan will have to be aborted, like the Nanar refinery project. At a press conference on Monday, Uddhav was asked about his stand on the Aarey car depot. "What happened with Nanar refinery, will happen with the Aarey carshed," was Uddhav's reply. This was a strong message to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The BJP had been aggressive about setting up a refinery at Nanar in Kokan. After this issue became a rallying point against the state government, the Shiv Sena took a hard stand against it. The Sena-BJP alliance for the Lok Sabha was cobbled together only after it conceded the Sena's demand to scrap the proposed Rs 3 lakh crore refinery at Nanar, Ratnagiri.
This time, it is the Aarey car depot which will be the deciding factor for finalizing an alliance. Uddhav's response to the question shows that the Sena will not backtrack on this demand now. The BJP will have to strike a compromise with the Sena if they want an alliance. It is also a clear indication of the considerable heartburn in the Sena over the BJP attempt to ride roughshod over it in the matter of seat-sharing. The offer of a measly 110 seats has added insult to injury and Uddhav’s caustic comment is being seen as a desperate move to mount pressure on the BJP to accommodate them further. Slighted at being dismissed derisively as a junior partner, Uddhav had taunted the BJP last week, saying the list of candidates for the assembly elections would be prepared by Fadnavis.
CM rejects Aaditya's demand, Uddhav stands by son
Incidentally, Thackeray's son and Yuva Sena head Aaditya Thackeray has been vocal in his opposition to the metro plan. On Sunday, Fadnavis said the Supreme Court had clarified that the (Aarey) land did not come under forestd or biodiversity.
"So the state government, by adhering to orders passed by the apex court, is working on the (metro carshed) project," he had said. This was a clear rejection of the demand put forth by Aaditya. However, Uddhav continues to stand by his son. Environmentalists and activists are also opposing the metro car shed project and have been demanding its relocation.