Industries minister and senior Congress leader Narayan Rane has backed his son Nitesh, president of NGO Swabhimaan, for the latter’s comments against Gujaratis in Mumbai and the state. He said Nitesh’s comments were aimed at supporters of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi who were demeaning Maharashtra.
The minister was speaking to the media on Monday to clear his stand in wake of the controversy over Nitesh’s tweets. Rane said the tweets were more than one-and-a-half month old and were used by his political opponents for political mileage. He said they were subverted as Nitesh was not against the entire Gujarati community.
“We share cordial relations with leading personalities in Gujarati and Jain communities and even have business relations with them. However, we will not tolerate anything against Marathis and Maharashtra. Whoever wants to praise Modi is free to go back to Gujarat,” he said.
Rane produced the comparative data of GDP, per capita income, human development index of both the states to make the case for Maharashtra’s development.
He also took a dig at his cabinet colleague, NCP leader home minister RR Patil, who had said his department would probe comments made by Nitesh. “He is free to conduct a probe against us, but he should also probe BJP leaders like Kirit Somaiya who had urged the court to direct authorities not to make Marathi compulsory in civic schools, and legislator Mangalprabhat Lodha who had urged the court to declare South Mumbai a vegetarian zone,” he said.
Rane said people who are denied homes for being non-vegetarian should complain to the police and the government.
Lodha, meanwhile denied Rane’s claim. “I never made such comment in any context. If Rane proves this, I will resign as MLA.”