Senior Congress leader and Revenue Minister Narayan Rane and his son Nitesh are expected to play a crucial role in winning his party the fourth seat in the Legislative Council polls on June 10.
They will have to woo the 13 Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLAs to vote for the Congress’s candidates.
The Congress can win three seats hands-down because it has enough numbers to get them elected without any help. It will have to garner extra votes for the fourth seat which Rane’s supporter Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani is contesting as the party’s unofficial candidate.
In such a situation, 13 MNS men along with Independents can plug the Congress deficit to great extent.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Rane met to discuss this on Tuesday.
Rane is an old friend of MNS chief Raj Thackeray and they enjoy a good rapport.
Rane’s younger son Nitesh is also doing his bit to get MNS legislators to help the Congress.
He recently announced that his NGO Swabhiman would not hesitate in joining hands with MNS in their fight over civic issues such as water scarcity.
“Nitesh is in touch with the MNS legislators, most of whom are his friends,” said Nitesh’s close aide, requesting anonymity.
Nitesh did not deny that he or his father were in talks with MNS’s top leadership.
Rane is expected to assure MNS on the Congress’ s behalf that suspension of four MNS MLAs would be revoked in the next Legislative Session.
The ruling parties have found a suitable way to enable suspended MNS men to cast their votes in a special polling booth outside the Vidhan Bhavan as they are barred from entering the Bhavan premises.
The Congress has unofficially fielded the fifth candidate Vijay Sawant, a builder who has declared assets worth Rs 442 crore in his election affidavit. But sources in the party said Sawant might have to withdraw or fight on his own.
The equations are not in favour of the Nationalist Congress Party, which has strength for winning two seats but has fielded three candidates.
The Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party have also fielded two candidates each despite facing a shortfall of votes for their respective second candidate.