Congress won’t be main Opposition if Narayan Rane quits, joins BJP
Rane, a former chief minister who left the Shiv Sena in 2005, is exploring his prospects with the Bharatiya Janata Partymumbai Updated: May 11, 2017 09:19 IST
The Congress may lose its position as the main opposition party in the state Assembly if dissident leader Narayan Rane quits with son Nitesh and aide Kalidas Kolambkar — both sitting MLAs.
Rane, a former chief minister who left the Shiv Sena in 2005, is exploring his prospects with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Rane wanted to be made state Congress chief and had even met the party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi and president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, but neither gave him assurance.
He has reportedly met BJP chief Amit Shah, but the leadership is not keen on letting him join the party before the presidential polls in July.
The BJP’s top brass in Maharashtra is also not keen on Rane, with several senior ministers saying he will be more of a liability than an asset for the party.
If Rane does quit the Congress with his MLA son Nitesh and staunch supporter and Naigaon MLA Kalidas Kolambkar, the party’s strength in the Assembly will reduce to 40 — one less than NCP’s tally of legislators. This may, technically, give reason to the NCP to stake claim on the post of Opposition Leader.
In the 288-member lower house, the Congress’
Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil heads the Opposition. He will lose his post if the number of legislators reduce.
“State Congress leaders are apprehensive only about losing the post, otherwise Rane’s defection is not a big deal as leaders feel he is a spent force,” said a party leader, on the condition of anonymity.
The leader, however, claimed that owing to improved coordination, the NCP is unlikely to stake claim. “Both parties have now realised they will have to work together in the state to be an effective opposition and to curtail BJP’s rising strength in the state,” he added.
The leader said, “NCP needs Congress’ support to retain its chairmanship in the legislative council and it would not be difficult for the remaining three parties to join hands.”