Congress leader Narayan Rane may look to thaw relations with Shiv Sena
Mumbai city news: While observers expected sparks to fly, with Sena rebel Rane and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray having always heaped criticism on each other, the cordiality between the two leaders raised a few eyebrowsmumbai Updated: Jun 25, 2017 00:26 IST
On Friday, all of Maharashtra’s political attention was focused on Kudal, a town in Konkan’s Sindhudurg district, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Nitin Gadkari invited two arch-rivals, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Congress’ Narayan Rane to share a dais for the first time in 12 years.
While observers expected sparks to fly, with Sena rebel Rane and Thackeray having always heaped criticism on each other, the cordiality between the two leaders raised a few eyebrows. Rane, usually raucous when it comes to the Shiv Sena, welcomed Thackeray and his wife to his home district, Sindhudurg. Rane’s mention of Thackeray in his speech sent feelers that he may be looking to thaw relations with the Sena with an eye on jumping on the saffron bandwagon. A senior Sena leader said, “Everyone knows that Rane is looking to join the BJP. The Congress has also understood this. Despite differences, the Sena and the BJP have a functional relationship, and Rane knows that unless he warms up to the Shiv Sena his entry into the BJP will not be smooth.” While Rane has rebuffed rumours of him joining the BJP, he has been evidently cozying up to the party. On Friday too, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Mumbai-Goa highway expansion, he praised Gadkari and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for leading Maharashtra towards development.
Rane has significant influence in the Konkan belt, a region where the Shiv Sena is strong and the BJP has until now been unable to get a grasp on.