Congress leader Narayan Rane(HT File)
Congress leader Narayan Rane(HT File)

Congress leader Narayan Rane to announce his political plans this afternoon

Former Maharashtra chief minister is in a bind as there is no fixed commitment from BJP yet
By Surendra Gangan | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON SEP 21, 2017 01:15 PM IST

All eyes are on senior Congress leader Narayan Rane, who will announce his future political plans on Thursday afternoon.

In the absence of a firm commitment from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rane is unlikely to say that he will join the saffron fold. It is also unsure whether he will quit the Congress officially, as his party can initiate proceedings against him to disqualify him as Member of Legislative Council (MLC).

Sources said that the former chief minister will most likely announce that he is going solo and set up an independent banner. Rane is expected to make the political announcement at 3.30pm in Kudal, Sindhudurg district. His son and MLA, Nitesh and close aide and MLA, Kalidas Kolambkar will not join him on the dias as he makes this announcement for strategic reasons.

Both the MLAs don’t want to contest by polls immediately and hence do not want to face disqualification proceedings for anti party activities. They are hoping that Congress will expel them but that may not happen so soon either, as the former stands to lose its Leader of Opposition chair in the assembly if they lose these two legislators.

“He has snapped almost all the ties with the Congress by attacking party’s state leadership and announcing to fight the gram panchayat elections by forming an independent group. He has also applied with the divisional commissioner to allow the group of corporators elected on Congress ticket in district council last year to form a separate entity under a different banner. On this backdrop, it is impossible for him to remain back in the party. But one may remember his similar announcements ahead of 2014-assembly election, when he had almost quit the party,” said a Congress leader on the condition of anonymity.

According to the BJP leaders, the announcement by Rane and his sons about forming separate groups and contesting Lok Sabha elections from Sindhudurg has not gone well with the BJP either. The BJP leadership is wary about the autocratic style of functioning of Ranes and hence, a group of leaders in Maharashtra is against his induction in the party.

“It may be a repeat of 2005, when Rane had quit the Shiv Sena. It was only after couple of weeks of his expulsion from Shiv Sena, Rane had joined Congress in the presence of state chief and state in-charge of the party. This time too, BJP will ensure that deal is settled as minimum possible assurance to Ranes,” said a local BJP leader from Sindhudurg.

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