The JV’s decision to choose Gujarat for the project comprising a semiconductor fabrication unit, a display fabrication unit, and a semiconductor assembling and testing unit instead of Maharashtra triggered a political blame game inthe state, with the opposition targeting the Eknath ShindeDevendra Fadnavis government for losing out on a mega opportunity and deputy CM Fadnavis blaming the erstwhile MVA government for not inviting Foxconn for two years when they were working on the deal with Gujarat. While Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray said he was shocked to see that a project “almost finalized” had been lost, Fadnavis told TOI, “If at all a blame game is to start, it’s the earlier government that is to be blamed. Our government came just a few days back. ”
In August 2015, when theBJP-Shiv Sena alliance was in power in Maharashtra, the state had signed an MoU with Foxconn to set up a $5 billion semiconductor unit at Talegaon in Pune. That MoU was cancelled in 2020, when MVA was in power, but negotiations were on for setting up of the plant.
Sources in Gandhinagar said Gujarat continued to woo Vedanta-Foxconn even after the MVA government announced the project would be set up in Maharashtra. “Gujarat once again approached the company offering full support under the semiconductor policy. Officials met CM Bhupendra Patel where the state offered all support, assuring that a dedicated team led by IAS officers would give support at all levels. This clinched the deal for Gujarat,” top officials close to the development said.
‘Real CM must answer why $20bn project went to Gujarat’
Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray said on Tuesday the answer as to why the Vedanta-Foxconn’s $20 billion semiconductor project which was supposed to come to Maharashtra went to Gujarat must be given by the real CM.
Although I’m glad to see this in India, I am a bit shocked to see this. New dispensation had tweeted photos, claim… https://t.co/2qEqnuGlum
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) 1663053066000
Responding to a tweet by Vedanta CEO Anil Agarwal announcing Gujarat as the pick, ex-minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted earlier in the day, “Although I’m glad to see this in India, I am a bit shocked to see this. New dispensation had tweeted photos, claiming to have brought this to Maharashtra, but it seems intent/commitment was to send this away from Maharashtra. Our Maha Vikas Aghadi government had brought this to the final stage. Then industries minister Subhash Desai MIDC and I held meetings to bring this semiconductor project to Maharashtra. For a project almost finalised, and a new dispensation claiming credit over it, only shows lack of commitment from the new dispensation for our state’s progress.”
Addressing a presser, Aaditya said, “90% MoUs signed by MVA government were executed as people trusted the government. But there is no favourable atmosphere now. Neither we nor anyone else trusts this government. In this illegal, unconstitutional arrangement, the real CM must tell us why this investment left our state. One lakh jobs were to be created and 90% terms were completed.”
Aaditya said he did not want to drag the company into politics and there must be investment in all states, but “the government must answer why they aren’t coming.”
Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, who is on a two-day visit to Moscow, told TOI, “This deal with Gujarat has been going on for two years and not once did our erstwhile government invite them. We were told Gujarat has given a good deal to Foxconn Vedanta and they have decided to invest there. We immediately contacted them and offered a better package. They interacted with us and we did a lot of negotiations. However, finally they decided to stick to their original decision to go to Gujarat.” Fadnavis said they tried their best but “we were very late. I would like to ask the opposition: Can they show any spectacular investment they brought? I can show many during 2014-2019 and they forget that in the last 23 years, we have been in power for 5 years and they for 18 years.” Fadnavis said the state would negotiate with other players in the semiconductors business and try to bring them in. “I would also like to remind that the International Financial Services Centre was conceived in 2005, but the then government didn’t do anything and in 2013, Modiji as CM got permission from UPA government and started the GIFT city [in Gujarat]. They don’t act on time and then start a narrative that Gujarat is taking our project,” he said. Also, in an attack on Uddhav Thackeray, Fadnavis said, “The Nanar refinery was by far the biggest single investment ever done in India. Who is responsible for aborting it prematurely? It’s about what efforts you take.”