Narayan Rane, son Nilesh quit Congress

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Sep 2017 09:02:00


Our Correspondent and Agencies KUDAL,


THE Congress in Maharashtra received a strong jolt when senior leader and former Chief Minister Narayan T. Rane and his son Nilesh, an ex-MP, quit the party on Thursday.
The Maratha leader, who was the Chief Minister in 1999 while in the Shiv Sena, told a press meet here that he had also resigned as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC).
Rane said, his other son Nitesh, a Congress MLA, will quit later, along with many Congress and Shiv Sena legislators, he added.

“I have not yet decided where to go, he said, referring to speculation about his joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, and added that he would make an announcement on this before Dussehra, which falls on September 30.
Rane said he would embark on a tour of Maharashtra from tomorrow (Friday) before announcing the next course of action.

Announcing his decision in his home turf Sindhudurg district on Thursday, Rane accused the Congress of reneging on the promise of making him Chief Minister when he joined the party 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena.

Accusing the Congress of duping him on several occasions, Rane said senior Congressman Ahmed Patel had assured him that he would be made the Chief Minister in six months, but nothing happened for years. Even Madam (Sonia Gandhi) told me twice that we shall make you CM, but it was never fulfilled. When Rahul Gandhi made me MLC without my asking, Chavan was in New Delhi till the last day opposing my name, Rane alleged.

“I sent my resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi today, Rane said. In the letter, I thanked them and haven’t criticised either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi”, he added.
The former firebrand leader of the Shiv Sena joined the Congress on July 26, 2005, and was the next day made Revenue Minister in the then Congress-led Government in the State. Rane also launched a scathing attack on state Congress President Ashok Chavan whom he has always accused of destroying the party in Maharashtra.

I shall prove my strength to Ashok Chavan. I will show him whether the people are with him or with me... Many more Congress leaders shall follow suit. My son Nilesh and I have now become ‘Congress-mukt’ and have nothing to do with the party, declared Rane. He warned that the state Congress and Shiv Sena will soon become vacant as many leaders, including 27 Shiv Sena legislators, are in touch with him, and are ready to quit their respective parties. After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, when the Congress was considering a replacement for Vilasrao Deshmukh, 48 legislators backed me and only 32 supported Chavan but I was overlooked and he was made the Chief Minister, Rane said.

He added that while Rahul Gandhi had made him an MLC, Chavan was camping in Delhi to ensure I didn’t become one. Rane, who has pockets of influence in the Konkan region, was expelled from the Sena by then supremo Bal Thackeray after he voiced displeasure over the latter’s son Uddhav gaining prominence in the party.

A tough talking leader, Rane, who was hand-picked by Thackeray as Chief Minister when he decided to remove Manohar Joshi ahead of the 1999 Assembly polls, had recently claimed he had received an offer from the Sena to return to its fold.

He, however, did not say if he was offered any post.
It’s not about any post. I said I don’t want to rejoin the Sena. If the Sena doesn’t want me, why would the offer have been made, Rane had said. On the Sena’s threat to withdraw from the government in Maharashtra, Rane had said, This is the old style of Sena President Uddhav Thackeray.

Rane had said the Sena often enacted the drama of threatening to quit the Government while enjoying the privileges of power.

At a recent rally in Kudal, Rane had blasted the Congress for what he described as the injustice it had done to him and said his supporters would contest the upcoming panchayat polls under a new entity— ‘Samarth Vikas Panel’. In recent months, Rane has met BJP President Amit Shah and even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on a couple of occasions in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, leading to speculation of his imminent exit from the Congress.

Though the BJP added fuel to the speculation by announcing it would welcome Rane with open arms, Rane had dismissed it outright as rumours. According to sources, Rane has expressed his desire to meet Shah before taking a final decision. The meeting is likely to take place on Sunday.