In Konkan's Sena-BJP fight, a stalled project takes centre stage

Updated: Oct 12, 2019, 07:44 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar |

With Nitesh Rane in the fray on a BJP symbol, saffron tie-up put on hold in key Konkan seat

Subhash Desai at Sena's poll rally in Sindhudurg. Pic/Satej Shinde
Subhash Desai at Sena's poll rally in Sindhudurg. Pic/Satej Shinde

The row between the BJP and Shiv Sena over the Rs 3 lakh crore oil refinery to be built in Nanar seems to be far from over. In a veiled attack on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai on Friday reiterated that the Nanar oil refinery will not be built in Konkan at any cost.

Fadnavis had, during his recent state-wide yatra, said he will revive the project if the locals wanted it. The project was shelved last year, with the Sena lending its support to those opposing the project. However, after the BJP's landslide victory in the general election, and Nitesh Rane joining BJP, the demand for reviving the scrapped project is gaining momentum, despite Sena's opposition for the same.

Addressing his first election rally in the Konkan region in Devgad, Desai, a senior cabinet colleague of Fadnavis, said, "Locals opposed Nanar project as it was coming at cost of environmental damage. No matter who puts his weight behind the scrapped project, I assure citizens that it will not come into existence."

BJP's Sandesh Parkar and Shiv Sena’s Satish Sawant at Sena's election campaign rally in Valivande, Devgad, Sindhudurg. Pic/Satej Shinde
BJP's Sandesh Parkar and Shiv Sena’s Satish Sawant at Sena's election campaign rally in Valivande, Devgad, Sindhudurg. Pic/Satej Shinde

Desai was speaking at a rally in support for the Sena candidate Satish Sawant, who is contesting the Kanakavli assembly constituency against Narayan Rane's son Nitesh, who is contesting on the BJP symbol. The saffron giants have set aside their alliance for this seat. Even Rane has been campaigning on the claim that the Nanar project is crucial for the development of the Konkan region and that it will generate employment. Rane accuses the Sena of obstructing the project as it is not interested in creating jobs for the local youth.

Rejecting Rane's claims, Desai has been campaigning that the Sena opposed the project only on the request of the locals. Regarding the allegation that the Sena was robbing the locals of employment opportunities, Desai explained, "Our party demanded 80 per cent reservation for locals in jobs and it has been successful in getting it executed. My department has signed an MoU with a multinational company and a big Indian company for starting food and fruit processing units that will generate jobs."

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