A day after factionalism in Maharashtra Congress took a violent turn in front of party chief Sonia Gandhi at her rally in Mumbai, Revenue Minister Narayan Rane on Friday attacked Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's camp accusing it of fomenting slogan-shouting demanding change of leadership and hatching a "conspiracy" to defame him.
Rane, a known critic of Deshmukh, refuted media reports that his supporters had created the ruckus before the Congress President at the rally and said Mumbai Youth Congress chief Sunil Ahire, who was regularly speaking to Deshmukh's son Amit seated with Rane's son Nitesh there, "was shouting slogans. I am not saying anything more but you can draw your conclusion".
"I will soon meet the Congress President and apprise her of the conspiracy to malign me for the unruly incident at the party convention attended by her in Mumbai yesterday", Rane, who joined Congress in 2005, said.
Rane claimed, "90 per cent of party legislators were not happy with Deshmukh's leadership".
"I fully endorse the views expressed by Congress MLA Rajeev Rajale", Rane told reporters here. Rajale, has written to Gandhi asking her to replace Deshmukh with Rane.
Over 90 per cent of Congress legislators are of the same view, Rane said. "This is my assessment. Several legislators have told me on phone that they also subscribe to Rajale's view even though they did not sign Rajale's letter", he said.