Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday said he had "requested" Congress heavyweight Narayan Rane not to contest the Bandra (East) assembly by-poll which the latter lost.
"Ranesaheb had called me to inform me that he is contesting the by-poll. I requested him not to contest. I told him 'you have just lost the assembly elections (in October last year). Also, the constituency (Bandra) is new for you'. My personal opinion is that he should not have contested the by-poll," he told reporters in Mumbai.
The former chief minister was defeated by Shiv Sena's Trupti Sawant , wife of MLA Prakash Sawant whose death had necessitated the April 11 bypoll, by over 19,000 votes.
A day after the by-poll result, Marathi newspaper Prahar, of which Rane is the editorial consultant, carried a piece that sought to put the onus of his defeat on senior Congress leaders.
However, Rane later distanced himself from the daily's opinion and maintained he had no complains against Congress leaders over the poll outcome.
Last month, Rane had expressed his displeasure over the appointment of former CM Ashok Chavan and ex-MP Sanjay Nirupam as presidents of Maharashtra and Mumbai Congress units, respectively.
In 2008, he was suspended from Congress for critical comments against AICC leaders over appointment of Chavan as the chief minister in place of Vilasrao Deshmukh, who quit following the terror attacks in Mumbai.