Tata has had a difficult connection with the Indian government, losing Air India to nationalisation and then purchasing it back off their hands when they were in poor condition.
As Gujarat’s chief minister, Narendra Modi encouraged Ratan Tata to establish a plant in Sanand when his vision for the Nano struck a roadblock in West Bengal.
Despite the project’s final failure, it served as a launching pad for a relationship that saw Ratan Tata praise Gujarat as being investor-friendly, which improved Modi’s chances in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Tata is the most recent company to be involved in the conflict between the Maharashtra government and opposition over missing out on megaprojects to Gujarat, though.
In a letter to Tata Sons, Gadkari—another tall BJP politician from Maharashtra besides deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis—invited the company to invest in the IT, steel, aviation, and auto industries in his home district of Nagpur.
In a favourable response to this offer, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran expressed interest in Nagpur and promised that the company will get in touch with the Vidharbha Economic Development Council.
On October 7, Gadkari issued a letter outlining the VEDC as a think tank eager to speak with and collaborate with Tata executives.
The road transport minister’s letter came to light after a political blame-game in Maharashtra over Tata’s decision to produce transport planes in Gujarat alongside Airbus.
Gujarat had already received criticism from the BJP-led state government for winning the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project.
In the midst of the crisis, Vedanta also later pledged to establish an iPhone production facility in Maharashtra, just like Tata has shown interest in Nagpur.
Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has accused CM Eknath Shinde of being to blame for Maharashtra’s defeat by blaming the Narendra Modi-led central government for awarding projects to Gujarat.
On the other hand, the Shinde-Fadnavis alliance has accused the MVA of failing to court Vedanta and Tata-Airbus because of an unfavourable investment climate.
Even further, Aditya Thackeray has demanded that the government identify the Tata official who rejected Maharashtra as a candidate for the project.