Finally, Narayan Rane is back in the Congress.
This outcome was a foregone conclusion for the party. So close to the polls, it had no option but to revoke his suspension, which he had attracted by criticising the party top brass after Ashok Chavan was picked for chief ministership over him.
In the run-up to the elections, Congress leaders were concerned that the former Shiv Sena stalwart would damage the party’s prospects in the Konkan and Mumbai.
Besides, the party was worried about the NCP’s ambitions of expanding further in the state. It did not want Rane to go over to that party on the eve of Lok Sabha elections.
“The Congress is being very pragmatic. They want every vote that they can get. Surely, Rane is their man to do that in the Konkan,” said political analyst B. Venkatesh Kumar.
Ironically, Rane is back in the party now, courtesy Chavan — the same man whom he had dismissed as useless just two months ago.
In return, Chavan, who pulled strings to get Rane back into the party, now gets a comrade to help counter predecessor Vilasrao Deshmukh’s still-considerable influence.
An enemy’s enemy, after all…