Amid speculations that he would join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon, Congress leader Narayan Rane denied meeting BJP chief Amit Shah and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Ahmedabad on Wednesday evening. He said the footage aired by television channels, which showed him travelling with Fadnavis in a Scorpio SUV, could be doctored or old, adding that he had not left his hotel during his Ahmedabad visit.
Rane revealed that he was unhappy with the Congress, even after his meeting with party vice president Rahul Gandhi. “Our meeting lasted for half-an-hour but none of my complaints were resolved,” he said. He however, refused to say whether he would stay with the party or join the BJP or another party. But, he added that the BJP had made him an offer in the past.
“I got an offer from the party some time ago, which I neither rejected nor accepted,” said the former chief minister. “You will be surprised to know that I got offers from several political parties, including the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party of India (RPI),” he added.
Rane, who defected to Congress from the Shiv Sena in 2005, is said to be unhappy with his current party. He has reportedly been in touch with BJP leadership. The BJP is keen to get him on-board, as it will give the party the strength it needs to counter the Shiv Sena in the Konkan.
Fadnavis went to Shah’s residence in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. Rane and his son, MLA Nitesh, were in the city at the same time. Marathi news channels aired footage of Rane and Fadnavis together in a vehicle. Rane, however, said he was in Ahmedabad on a work-related visit and it was a coincidence that Fadnavis and Shah were also in the city.
“I went to Ahmedabad to attend a meeting related to the medical college I intend to set up in the city. I reached in the evening and stayed at the hotel the whole time. The meeting ended at 10pm, after which I went to bed,” said Rane. He added that the hotel he was staying at offered him a Mercedes car to travel in, which he used.
Rane said he had traveled with Fadnavis twice in the past month. “The first time, I attended BJP chief Raosaheb Danve’s son Santosh’s wedding at Aurangabad. We also traveled together to Nagpur to attend the wedding of state energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s daughter,” he said.