Friendship with Nitin Gadkari is holy: Narayan Ranemumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2017 11:29 IST
(From left) Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Congress leaders Sushil Kumar Shinde and Narayan Rane, at an event to celebrate Rane’s 65th birthday at Dadar on Sunday.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT)
Amid speculation of senior Congress leader Narayan Rane joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the latter and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari praised each other at an event organised to celebrate Rane’s 65th birthday on Sunday. Rane termed his friendship with Gadkari as ‘holy’ and said he owed everything to late Shiv Sena president Bal Thackeray. Gadkari, on the other hand, praised Rane for being a ‘self-made man’.
The remarks came at the time when speculations are rife that Rane is unhappy in the Congress, and is on his way to join the saffron party. However, Rane has denied the rumours.
“Gadkari and I share a ‘holy’ friendship. Despite being in rival parties, Gadkari attended my birth anniversary function. Only he can observe such friendship by putting his position at risk,” Rane said, indicating that Gadkari attended the event despite his position as the union surface transport minister.
“I still hesitate while chatting with other opposition leaders, but that is not the case with Gadkari,” the former chief minister added, expressing the strong bond both leaders share.
Gadkari also lauded the senior Congress leader wholeheartedly. “We both were working together as opposition leaders. Rane created a standing in Mumbai despite not being from a political background. He is a self-made man in state politics,” the union minister said adding, “He (Rane) proved that his leadership is beyond a political party. The politics of the state would have gone a different route had he had not quit Shiv Sena.”
Gadkari added that people change after switching sides, but Narayan Rane continues to respect Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. “He never uttered a word against him (Bal Thackeray), no matter how badly he was slammed from the other side,” he pointed out.
Rane also said that he owes his political achievements to the late Shiv Sena president. “No one can show the kind of trust that Bal showed me. For me, his position will remain the same, no matter which party I work for,” Rane said.