Narayan Rane may get berth in Maharashtra cabinet, reshuffle likely after Diwali | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Narayan Rane may get berth in Maharashtra cabinet, reshuffle likely after Diwali

A section within the BJP says Rane is likely to get the public works portfolio

mumbai Updated: Oct 05, 2017 09:08 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Rane set up his own party, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, on Sunday, two weeks after he resigned from the Congress.
Rane set up his own party, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, on Sunday, two weeks after he resigned from the Congress. (HT File)

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been weighing his options with regard to former Congress leader Narayan Rane being inducted into his cabinet as an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

While Fadnavis and senior BJP leaders are yet to decide on what portfolio Rane should get, there are also speculations about the much-awaited cabinet reshuffle and Rane’s induction into it.

The cabinet reshuffle is widely expected to take place only after Diwali, with a few new faces to be introduced and few incumbents likely to be dropped.

A section within the BJP says Rane is likely to get the public works portfolio.

Rane set up his own party, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, on Sunday, two weeks after he resigned from the Congress.

For a few months, he was in talks to join the BJP, and then the cabinet, but was later offered a seat of power only as an ally. This was finalised after Rane met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi last month. HT had reported that Rane would join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after floating his own party and would then get inducted into the cabinet.

While Rane expects a plum portfolio such as revenue, urban development or housing, senior BJP leaders are not too keen on this. Shiv Sena leaders also told Fadnavis that they are not in favour of Rane being inducted into the cabinet.

“I will announce my formal decision regarding the NDA in the next two days. The CM and I did not discuss my portfolio when we met, but I expect my seniority as former chief minister will be respected,” Rane told HT.

He added that if his portfolio has been allotted, he can be sworn in ahead of the cabinet reshuffle. “There is no need to wait,” he said.

A BJP minister told HT that the Delhi leadership had given Fadnavis complete freedom to decide the portfolio for Rane.

“The national leadership has authorised Fadnavis to decide which portfolio to give Rane, who has been asking for one of the four key departments. However, the state leadership is not keen on this. We have many heavyweight leaders that have left other parties to join us, despite not having been given any major post. We will have to face them,” said the minister, who did not wish to be identified.

Revenue minister and senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said there was no reason for the Shiv Sena to be upset over Rane’s induction. “We have asked Rane to join the NDA and he is expected to make a decision in the next two days. I am unaware of any threats by the Shiv Sena over Rane’s induction. We have been trying to maintain a cordial relationship with the party and its leaders. Fadnavis ensures that he makes time to talk to Sena leaders and ministers. They sometimes even meet at wee hours owing to their busy schedules. The Shiv Sena should not have a problem with our decision,” he said.

Party sources said the future of Rane’s two sons will be decided during the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in 2019.