What is certain is that Dow Chemicals, which acquired Union Carbide, the company responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy, has politicians from the Congress and the BJP firmly under its control. This emerges even as the two main political parties of the land accuse each other of being in cahoots with American multi-nationals and selling the interests of the Bhopal gas victims down the proverbial drain.
With the BJP going to town pointing at the nexus existing between Dow Chemicals and senior Congress politicians such as P Chidambaram and Kamal Nath, who had been favouring a secure entry for Dow's business interests in the country, leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly, Congressman Shaktisinh Gohil, asked the BJP to clarify how Dow Chemicals had managed to sign a MoU with Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd (GACL). Apparently, the Gujarat government had signed an agreement with Dow in 2008 to set up a chloro-methane facility in the state.
Gohil released copies of a letter in which Dow Chemical seeks government help for its project in Gujarat and mentions specifically that ever since the signing of the MoU, Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister, acts as a spokesperson of the company.
This broadside from the Congress has resulted in a counter from the BJP with Gujarat's minister of energy and petrochemicals, Saurabh Patel, releasing copies of documents containing details of 11 Dow Chemicals units in the country.
According to Patel, Dow Chemicals has three manufacturing units in the country and eight other sites, most of which are in Maharashtra with one in Tamil Nadu.
He points out that the Taloja plant in Raigad district of Maharashtra was inaugurated in 2003 by former Maharashtra chief minister and current union minister for power, Sushil Kumar Shinde. The plant at Lote, near Pune, was inaugurated by ex-Maharashtra chief minister and current union minister for agriculture, Sharad Pawar.