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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Maharashtra Assembly Election 2019: Narayan Rane’s party merges with BJP, CM Fadnavis campaigns for his son Nitesh against Sena

The endorsement for Nitish came after his father and former chief minister Narayan Rane merged his Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksha with the BJP in Kankavli in Fadnavis’ presence.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2019 22:41 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times, Kankavli (Sindhudurg)
Maharashrta Chief minister Devendra fadnavis and BJP Rajya sabha member Narayan Rane during maharastra swbhiman paksha merge into BJP at Kankavli.
Maharashrta Chief minister Devendra fadnavis and BJP Rajya sabha member Narayan Rane during maharastra swbhiman paksha merge into BJP at Kankavli. (HT Photo by Vijayanand Gupta)
         

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday rallied behind the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate in Kankavli of Sindhudurg district, Nitish Rane, in another showdown with ally Shiv Sena ahead of the October 21 state elections.

The endorsement for Nitish came after his father and former chief minister Narayan Rane merged his Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksha with the BJP in Kankavli in Fadnavis’ presence.

After the BJP fielded Nitesh, who had won on a Congress ticket in 2014, the Sena nominated Satish Sawant against him for the Kankavli assembly seat in a retaliatory move. Sawant, a close aide of Narayan Rane for 24 years, had earlier filed his nomination as an Independent candidate.

The Shiv Sena and Narayan Rane have checkered past ever since he left the party on a bitter note in 2005 to join the Congress. He later quit the Congress and formed his own party.

Narayan Rane is a member of the Rajya Sabha from the BJP’s quota, while Nitesh formally joined the BJP before filing nomination for the assembly elections. On Tuesday, Rane’s other son Nilesh, former MP and other office bearers of the MSP also joined the BJP.

“We do not see any challenge in Kankavli. It is not overconfidence... Today I will also say that Nitesh will get over 65% of votes here and win,” Fadnavis said despite the Sena’s reservation on the seat.

The BJP and Shiv Sena have sealed a seat-sharing pact in Maharashtra after weeks of disagreement over the exact contours of the deal. The Sena had initially sought an equal number of seats but finally settled for 124 of the 288 assembly seats in the state. The BJP will be contesting 164 seats along with smaller allies.

The tension between the allies is likely to intensify further as Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will address a rally in Kankavli on Wednesday to campaign for Sawant.

The Sena has shot back with veiled threats over the tussle in Kankavli.

“We cannot stop the CM from campaigning… We expected them [the BJP] to not give a ticket to Nitesh Rane. Similarly, we also expect the CM to not campaign for him [Nitesh]. He is a smart, learned person and knows what he is doing and how it impacts the alliance,” Vinayak Raut, Sena’s MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, has said.

Fadnavis also said Nitesh, who has an aggressive streak, will now be given lessons in patience as well to carry out development work in Sindhudurg district.

Rane, whose induction in the BJP was stiffly opposed by the Shiv Sena, said that he gave a lot of thought before joining the BJP.

“I have not joined expecting anything in return. Sindhudurg is a tourist district and a lot of work has to be done. We will imbibe the policies of the BJP and work for it,” Rane said.

The chief minister while outlining the development work in the Konkan region said that the ambitious Sea World project has not moved ahead in the last five years.

“We have not been able to progress on the SeaWorld project due to land acquisition hurdles… Today I assure you Rane saheb, work on your dream project Sea World will start after two years of the next government,” Fadnavis said.

The votes for the Maharashtra assembly polls 2019 will be counted on October 24.