With no quick resolution in sight, sulking Congress leader Narayan Rane met party vicepresident Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday.
Rane had resigned as state industries minister earlier this week, expressing unhappiness with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s leadership and the party top brass for reneging on the promise of making him the CM. As he had not quit the Congress, his resignation was seen as a pressure tactic to bargain for a better deal in the party.
“I put across my grievances and reasons for the resignation. Rahul Gandhi has patiently heard me out and will inform the party president, Sonia Gandhi, about it. They will convey their decision to me,” said Rane.
It is lear nt that in their 45-minute meeting, Rane did not make a bid for the post of the CM, but said he expects a debacle in the Assembly polls under the existing leadership. Gandhi is also expected to discuss the resignation issue with Chavan and state party president Manikrao Thakre before taking a call.
Earlier, both Chavan and Thakre had meetings with Rane, but he was not satisfied. Sources said Chavan feels the party should not succumb to Rane’s pressure.
The former Shiv Sena chief minister resigned after the party top brass didn’t act on his and other senior ministers’ complaints against the chief minister. After his resignation, he had made it clear that he was not aiming for the post of the CM. “Elections are just two months away, why would I make a pitch for the post of CM. That’s not why I have resigned.’’
It is learnt that Rane has indicated to Gandhi that he can steer the party during elections better and sought a clear second position. He also reminded Gandhi that he had been promised the CM chair within six months of joining the Congress in 2005.
Sources said that Rane is angling for an assurance that he will to get to lead the party after the polls as the CM if they win and as the leader of Opposition if they lose. “He [Rane] will have to make do with the post of campaign committee chief,” said a party leader.