Congress-Sena and BJP exchange comments on IFSC headquarters going to Gujarat

MUMBAI: The decision of the Union government to establish the International Financial Services Center () in Gandhinagar instead of Mumbai led to a verbal dispute between ruling and Shiv Sena and the opposition BJP in Maharashtra on Saturday.

While the two ruling alliance partners alleged that it was an attempt to lessen Mumbai's stature, the state BJP claimed that Congress-led governments did nothing to get IFSC in Mumbai when they ruled in Maharashtra earlier.

The central government's decision to locate the IFSC is disappointing and is being made to reduce Mumbai's stature. The Center should reconsider its decision, the head of the state Congress and revenue minister, Balasaheb Thorat, tweeted.

Mumbai was the financial capital of the country, he said, questioning the silence of Maharashtra BJP leaders on the issue.

Shiv Sena leader and Industries Minister Subhash Desai said it would be natural to have the IFSC in Mumbai, which is known globally for its financial might.

Mumbai has BSE, NSE, RBI, SEBI, the headquarters of banks and financial companies, offices of major international companies, and Mumbai is an International Financial Center, he said.

South Mumbai's deputy and Senate leader Arvind Sawant said he had appealed to the Center against the creation of the IFSC in Gujarat, but his request was ignored.

School Education Minister and Congress Leader Varsha Gaikwad tweeted: Mumbai is once again robbed of the opportunity to become an IFSC destination due to our Prime Minister's special love for Gujarat. Is the PM for the country or only for one state?

But BJP leader and former chief minister defended the Center's decision.

Some people have selective memories when they want to blame everything on Narendra Modi's government, he tweeted.

When IFSC was first discussed, Modi, then Gujarat's prime minister, began working to bring him to his state, while the congressionally-led government in Maharashtra made no move, he alleged.

The headquarters is advertised in Gandhinagar because it is the only functional IFSC. Those who are hitting the chest were now in power from 2007 to 2014 and did nothing for the Mumbai IFSC, he said.

Fadnavis, however, added that Mumbai had a natural IFSC ecosystem and can still become an IFSC if the Maharashtra government wants it.

Later, the Union's finance minister, Arun Jaitley, had said that the government was considering whether there could be two IFSCs, he said.

The Maharashtra government (led by him) then sent a report on how they can coexist and is still under consideration, Fadnavis said.