Amid speculation of Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane preparing to join the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), senior Congress leaders Milind Deora and Arif Naseem Khan met him at his office on Tuesday.
Though the meeting between the three lasted for more than an hour, party sources said it was a casual meeting and there was no need to draw conclusions as the party did not given any assurance to Rane. They added that though Rane has been vying for Congress state chief’s post, no such assurance was given to him by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi when the two met earlier this month.
“Neither the high command is in a hurry to give any assurance to Rane, nor has it been our tradition. The decision over his grievances and demands will be taken at the appropriate time,” said a Congress leader.
Rane, who skipped the Sangharsh Yatra organised by the Congress and the Opposition parties, to corner the state over farm loan waivers, is meeting his followers in Sindhudurg on Wednesday.
Though the decision to quit the Congress is unlikely to be taken anytime soon, Rane has reportedly begun the process of building a consensus within the local unit if the need arises. The meeting also assumes significance in the wake of local BJP leaders’ from Konkan opposing his induction into the party.
Former BJP MLA Pramod Jathar and Rajan Teli have openly opposed Rane and his sons’s admission into the BJP fold, claiming it would not benefit the party. Teli even threatened to quit the party if Rane was inducted.
“He has convened a meeting of local leaders and workers on Wednesday at Oros in Sindhudurg. He is unlikely to announce any major decision during the meeting, but will set the agenda for the future course of action. He is also likely to chalk out a plan to counter the opposition from the district unit of the BJP,” said a Congress leader from Sindhudurg.
Rane and his elder son Nilesh, a former Congress MP, have been publicly criticising state unit leadership over its defeat in recent local body polls.Besides, Rane had also lost the 2014 assembly election from Sindhudurg and a by-election in 2015 that was held in Bandra (East) constituency following the death of sitting Sena MLA Prakash Sawant.