Mumbai: After his terse message to the BJP on seat-sharing last week, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has raised the stakes and declared that the fate of the saffron alliance hinges on the Aarey issue.
This comes a day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis batted for a metro carshed at Aarey, taking the plea that it is not a forest and development must be the overriding consideration.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has warned the plan will have to be aborted, just as the Nanar refinery project had to be abandoned.
At a press conference on Monday, Uddhav was asked about his stand on the Aarey car depot. "What happened to Nanar refinery, will happen to the Aarey carshed," was Uddhav's loaded reply.
This is seen as a strong unambiguous message to CM Fadnavis. The BJP had been aggressive about setting up a refinery at Nanar in Kokan.
After this issue became a sticking point, the Shiv Sena took a hard stand. 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 in Ratnagiri. This time, it is the Aarey car depot which will be the deciding factor.
It is also clear from Uddhav's belligerent response that the Sena will not backtrack on this demand now. The BJP will have to strike a compromise with the Sena if it wants an alliance.
This is also a clear indication of the 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 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.