There is more trouble in store for the Congress after its rout in the Lok Sabha polls, with senior party leader and state industries minister Narayan Rane announcing his intention to quit the state cabinet on Thursday.
“I will tender my resignation as minister on Monday. I will announce my future plans then. I am still with the Congress,” Rane said. Though he refused to divulge the reasons behind the move, it is well known that Rane was unhappy working under Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The party leadership recently decided to continue with Chavan, though several Congress leaders were demanding his removal.
Congress leader and state industries minister Narayan Rane (left) with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. (HT Photo)
Rane said he would be travel to his constituency Kankavli on Friday and hold a meeting with party workers and supporters on Sunday before finalising plans. He said he had not met the party’s senior leadership before making the decision.
“Rane has decided to go all out and attack Chavan on Monday when he resigns. He will be pacified only if the party hands over the entire election organisation to him. If not, he is weighing options such as joining the BJP,” said a party legislator close to Rane.
Rane’s possible desertion could affect Congress’ prospects in the October assembly polls. Without him, the party may lose all presence in Rane’s home turf Konkan.
Besides, if Rane decides to quit the party, he is likely to take along five or six party MLAs and local supporters with him. His aides said the possibility of Rane joining the BJP could not be ruled out, though the leader is yet to take a decision on quitting the Congress.
There were speculations that Rane was in touch with BJP president Amit Shah. However, Rane as well as the state BJP leaders denied this on Thursday. Many within Chavan’s camp, downplayed the announcement as a “pressure tactic to get the attention and bag the campaign committee chief’s post”.
Chavan refused to comment on the matter. He however told HT he was yet to hear from Rane and would talk to party colleagues and leadership before commenting.