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Prove bribery allegation or quit, Bal Thackeray dares Chavan

Friday April 29, 2011 11:23:01 PM, IANS

Mumbai/Thane: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Friday challenged Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to prove allegations that his party had taken Rs.5 billion from 11 corporates to scuttle the 9900-MW Jaitapur nuclear power plant coming up in Ratnagiri district or quit.

"You give us proof of this allegation and I am ready to quit as Shiv Sena chief and retire from politics. If not, then you should quit as chief minister and go home. Come on, are you ready," roared Thackeray, in a statement here late Friday evening, hours after his son and party executive president Uddhav Thackeray blasted Chavan on the same issue.

Thackeray said it is the misfortune of the state to have such a chief minister in its golden jubilee year. Incidentally, Chavan had won the by-election to the legislative council after Shiv Sena declined to put up a candidate against him.

Blasting Chavan for supporting Industry Minister Narayan Rane who first made the utterance in the state legislature last week, Thackeray demanded evidence from both (Chavan and Rane) that his party had got Rs.500 crore from 11 corporate houses to scuttle the Jaitapur project.

Thackeray pointed out that barely a couple of days later, Home Minister R.R. Patil had said that there was no basis to Rane's utterances, but later Chavan supported Rane, saying that there was "substance" in the allegations.

"Such a dispute between two senior leaders from the state holding responsible position in the same cabinet is unprecedented," Thackeray said.

"Whatever evidence you (Chavan & Rane) have in this regard, place it before the people. If not, then both of you should quit. However, if I am proved wrong, then I shall quit my post as Sena chief and leave politics," Thackeray thundered.

Earlier Friday afternoon, Uddhav said said it seemed Chavan has taken a "contract" for the Jaitapur project.

Speaking to media persons in Thane, Thackeray said that "the manner in which the Jaitapur nuclear power project (JNPP) is being speeded up by the state government, it appears it has taken a contract to implement the project at all costs".

"For the government, it does not matter if people get killed or the state gets ruined, but the nuclear power project must be implemented. Will the CM clarify from whom he has taken a contract for this?" Thackeray demanded.

He said it was Maharashtra's misfortune that in its golden jubilee year, it had got a chief minister who was leveling allegations against Shiv Sena to hide the blood-stains of Tabrez Pehekar, an anti-Jaitapur plant activist who was killed in police firing last week.

This statement came in retaliation to Chavan's statement recently that Thackeray had agreed to support the project, but backtracked and started opposing it vehemently.




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