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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

Congress’ Narayan Rane in BJP? Party leaders won’t decide before July’s Prez election

BJP may wait till after presidential poll to induct Congress leader, as it doesn’t want to anger Shiv Sena, Rane’s original party.

mumbai Updated: May 11, 2017 09:19 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Congress leader Narayan Rane.
Congress leader Narayan Rane.(HT File)

While speculations are rife about Congress leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane’s likely induction into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party leaders seem to have put the decision on hold for want of a consensus among other BJP leaders from the state, say sources. The party​ leadership is also not inclined to take any decision on him till the presidential elections, scheduled to be held in July, are over.

The BJP doesn’t want to antagonise the Sena, which considers Rane as it’s bete noire, should the NDA presidential candidate need Sena’s votes.

It was rumoured that Rane will join the BJP during the party’s two-day conclave at Pimpri Chichwad, held on Wednesday and Thursday. Rane, too , had indicated that he would make an announcement ahead of the same. However,neither the BJP spoke about the move, nor did the Congress leader utter a word in that regard.

According to the leaders from the state BJP, the consensus within the party has become difficult to build. “Most of the core committee members of the state unit are against the induction of Rane. We will have to give assembly and Lok Sabha tickets to his sons, besides making arrangements to get Rane re-elected to either Rajya Sabha or the legislative council. This will have to be done for the sake of benefits only in Sindhudurg district, where we have a very weak presence. And even after that, a leader like him does not fit in our political culture,” said a top BJP leader on the condition of anonymity.

Significantly, senior leader and union minister Nitin Gadkari, while addressing the conclave, told his partymen that they will have to accept new people in the party if they want it to grow.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, is not very keen to have Rane in the party, say sources. Though Fadnavis, in his concluding speech during the conclave, admitted to having a weak organisational set up in Sindhudurg, he did not make any comment on Rane.

BJP’s district leadership has openly opposed the move, warning party that it will become difficult for them to stay in party if Rane was given entry.

Hence, BJP’s leadership has kept Rane’s entry into the party on hold. “The national leaders insist that such decisions need to be taken first at the state level. But since there is lot of resistance to the proposed induction, and since it is likely to upset our ally Shiv Sena, it has been put on hold. The decision is likely to be taken only after July, once the election of president is over. We will need Shiv Sena’s support in the election,” another BJP leader said.

Surprisingly, Congress’s state leadership also has not been very interested in persuading Rane to stay back. State unit chief of Congress, Ashok Chavan, said two days ago that the decisions (about whether to stay back in the party) has to be taken by Rane himself.