NCP keeps new policy at armís length
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Even as the Congress got itself pats on the back from several quarters for the new Industrial Policy, ally Nationalist Congress Party, which had raised several objections all along, has virtually distanced itself from it.
Although the NCP stopped short of denouncing the policy, being in the coalition, several leaders of the party stated the policy undermines the interest of farmers, whose land was acquired for SEZs. Some NCP leaders have reportedly decided to use the new industrial policy as a weapon against the Congress led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, known for his clean image. Top NCP leadership in the state, held a closed-door meeting, and have reportedly decided to expose what they said was double standards of the Congress.
They believe the policy showers undue benefits on industries and private developers and not owners of the land acquired for SEZs .
However, officially, the ally would not demand a rollback of the policy which the cabinet has cleared.
NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Mullick said, "The decision to approve the industrial policy was taken in the cabinet. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has given his consent after deliberations with cabinet ministers from both the Congress and NCP. Therefore, we cannot challenge the new industrial policy."
Senior NCP ministers, including PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare, Home Minister R R Patil, and Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil indicated their reservations on the policy.
Malik said, "The NCP has made certain recommendations related to utilisation of land for housing which the state government should consider in the public interest."
Despite repeated explanations by Industries Minister Narayan Rane that the new policy would boost industrial growth and would not promote real estate business, there was reportedly unrest within a section of the Congress. On Thursday, there were reports emerging that some Congress ministers had also expressed reservations on the new policy although none of them was willing to be quoted.