Uddhav Thackeray Refuses To Meet Dharmendra Pradhan Over Refinery Project

Ministers from the Shiv Sena also voiced anger about the Centre signing the agreement and paving the way for implementation of the refinery project.

Uddhav Thackeray Refuses To Meet Dharmendra Pradhan Over Refinery Project

A Shiv Sena leader said Uddhav Thackeray conveyed to Dharmendra Pradhan that a meeting was pointless

Mumbai:

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has refused to meet Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to discuss the planned mega-refinery in coastal Maharashtra, a party source said today.

A senior Sena leader said that Mr Thackeray conveyed it to Mr Pradhan that a meeting was pointless, as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to develop the refinery at Nanar in Ratnagiri has already been inked.

At the state cabinet meeting here, Sena ministers also voiced anger about the Centre signing the agreement and paving the way for implementation of the project.

Sena leader and Industries Minister Subhash Desai had announced earlier that if the BJP led state government went ahead with the project, he was prepared to resign.

Mr Pradhan had sought to meet the Sena president tomorrow to discuss the project, which the Thackeray-led party is staunchly opposed to.

"Uddhavji refused to meet him. There was no point in discussion when the Centre has already inked the deal," the Sena source said.

Shiv Sena ministers Diwakar Raote and Ramdas Kadam denounced the signing of the agreement at the cabinet meeting today, he said.

BJP's Rajya Sabha MP and Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha leader Narayan Rane, and Sena leader from Ratnagiri Vinayak Raut, too voiced opposition to the project.

"I won't allow a single brick of the project to be laid," Mr Rane said he will resign if the project is executed.

Saudi Aramco and ADNOC signed an MoU in Delhi on Monday. The two companies will together hold 50 per cent stake in the project, while the remaining half will be split between state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL).

After the signing of the MoU, Mr Pradhan, when asked about the BJP ally Shiv Sena's strong opposition, had said he would meet Mr Thackeray and clear his doubts.