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New Delhi: Following widespread criticism of the Maharashtra government from Opposition parties for Gujarat pipping the state to the Rs 1.54 lakh crore Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor venture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly promised Eknath Shinde that a “similar or better” project would go to the latter’s state in the future.
The details of the Tuesday, September 13 phone call between Shinde and Modi were revealed by Maharashtra industries minister Uday Samant, according to a Times of India report.
Shinde’s phone call with the prime minister was also followed by a series of tweets from Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal the next day in which he wrote that the company was “fully committed to investing in Maharashtra as well.”
This multibillion dollar long-term investment will change the course of Indian electronics. We will create a pan-India ecosystem & are fully committed to investing in Maharashtra as well. Maharashtra will be our key to forward integration in our Gujarat JV. (4/4)
— Anil Agarwal (@AnilAgarwal_Ved) September 14, 2022
In the series of tweets, the Vedanta chairman wrote that the decision-making process for the location of India’s first semiconductor plant was two years in the making and that the decision to choose Gujarat was made after “professional and independent advice”.
“This multibillion dollar long-term investment will change the course of Indian electronics. We will create a pan-India ecosystem & are fully committed to investing in Maharashtra as well. Maharashtra will be our key to forward integration in our Gujarat JV,” Agarwal wrote.
Agarwal’s declaration was met with congratulatory tweets from Samant as well as Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who thanked the businessman for choosing Maharashtra as the site for the “Vedanta-Foxconn affiliate project”.
After the Gujarat government inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Vedanta and Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn in Gandhinagar on Tuesday, Shiva Sena leader and former minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state, Aaditya Thackeray slammed Shinde and the state government for allowing the deal to go to Gujarat.
Thackeray claimed that the MVA government had brought the deal to its “final stages” but that the current dispensation “lost the confidence of investors”. Further, he rued the loss of “70,000- 1 lakh” jobs in the state.
Shinde, meanwhile, countered Thackeray’s criticism, alleging that the Indian conglomerate may not have got the response it wanted from the previous MVA government.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jayant Patil criticised the Maharashtra government along the same lines while adding, “With the Gujarat elections coming up, the BJP in Maharashtra seems busy in safeguarding the interests of Gujarat,” in a series of tweets.
महाराष्ट्राचे मुख्यमंत्री व उपमुख्यमंत्री यांना राजकीय सभा घेण्यातून वेळ मिळत नसल्याने पुन्हा एकदा गुजरातने महाराष्ट्राच्या तोंडचा घास हिरावून घेतला आहे. गुजरातच्या निवडणूका तोंडावर आल्याने महाराष्ट्रातील भाजपा गुजरातचे हित जपण्यात व्यस्त दिसते.
— Jayant Patil- जयंत पाटील (@Jayant_R_Patil) September 13, 2022
The Congress party, too, joined in on the criticism, with spokesman Atul Londhe accusing Shinde and Fadnavis of betraying the people of Maharashtra by “brokering a deal” with the Gujarat government.
Addressing a press conference, Londhe questioned why Gujarat was deemed as a more suitable location for the project since Talegaon, the proposed location for the project in Maharashtra, has all the requisite infrastructure and connectivity for such a project.
As such, the Congress spokesperson threatened to stage a protest “in support of unemployed youths” if the project is not brought back to the state.