‘Not shifting to BJP’: 10-time Goa MLA Pratapsingh Rane rebuts Devendra Fadnavis
PANAJI: Goa’s seniormost lawmaker, Pratapsingh Rane, on Wednesday rebutted senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis’ suggestion that he also may soon shift to the saffron party after spending 45 years in the Congress, saying it was a “figment of imagination” and he has no intention of leaving the Congress that he served for more than 45 years.
Devendra Fadnavis floated the possibility of Pratapsingh Rane, one of the three remaining Congress legislators in the Goa assembly, crossing sides and “blessing” the BJP at a party event to induct Ravi Naik, a turncoat from the Congress.
Fadnavis said when Pratapsingh Rane makes the switch, the Congress, which has been reduced from a Nano (a small car with four wheels) to an autorickshaw or a three wheeler, the Congress could become a cycle, or a two MLA party.
Pratapsingh Rane delivered his rejoinder to Fadnavis in a 34-second video that was circulated by the Goa Congress.
“The news that is being spread that I am quitting my party is a figment of imagination. These people just want to spread canards. I am not leaving my party,” said Rane, Goa’s 10-time lawmaker who holds many records.
Apart from being Goa’s longest-serving legislator Rane also holds a record for having served as chief minister of the state for a little less than 16 years across six terms between 1980 and 2007. He was the assembly speaker between 2007 and 2012. He has been continuously elected since 1972 when he was first elected to the then legislative assembly of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu.
“I belong to the Congress party for over 45 years. and I do not think that I would ever at this juncture of leaving the Congress party. I belong to the Indian National Congress and that’s it,” the former Chief Minister also said.
Rane’s son Vishwajit quit the Congress in 2017 after the party couldn’t form the government despite emerging as the largest party in the 40-member assembly with 17 legislators. He resigned as a Congress MLA, won the bye-election on a BJP ticket and was appointed a minister, first in the Manohar Parrikar cabinet and later, in Pramod Sawant’s team.