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Rane avoids addressing Congress workers in Sindhudurg, calls it ‘annual tradition’

Rumours about Congress leader Narayan Rane defecting to the BJP gained momentum following media reports that he recently met BJP chief Amit Shah and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis...

mumbai Updated: Apr 24, 2017 14:03 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Narayan Rane,Congress,BJP
Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane (HT photo )

Amid rumours of him joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), senior Congress leader Narayan Rane avoided addressing party workers at a cultural event in Sindhudurg on Sunday. Instead, Rane said he would speak at an appropriate time. For the past few weeks, Rane and his son Nilesh have been publicly criticising the state Congress leadership.

Upon asking, Rane said, “To guide party workers, the event was organised this every year too. I haven’t addressed this event in the past and will follow the tradition this year as well. I will speak, but at the appropriate time.”

Earlier, Rane had skipped the statewide Sangharsh Yatra organised by the Congress and other Opposition parties to corner the state over farm loan waiver.

Rumours about Rane defecting to the BJP gained momentum following media reports that he met BJP chief Amit Shah and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Ahmedabad. However, Rane rubbished these speculations.

Sources in the BJP said Rane has been talking with the BJP leaders over switching sides along with his sons, former Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP Nilesh and MLA Nitesh. Rane himself is a member of legislative council and has two MLAs with him — Nitesh and close aide Kalidas Kolambkar.

They added that though Rane would prefer a ministerial berth in the state government, Fadnavis is not keen on making him part of his team. Moreover, the CM is also wary of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into the money laundering allegations levelled against the Ranes.

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had written to Satyabrata Kumar, joint director of ED, on November 12, 2016, seeking probe against companies run by Rane and his family. Rane is a former Shiv Sena chief minister, who crossed over to the Congress following a tiff with the Sena leadership in 2005.

According to Congress sources, attempts are on to pacify the sulking leader. Last week, two senior leaders — Milind Deora and Arif Naseem Khan — met Rane at his office in Mumbai. They added that Rane is vying for the post Congress state chief’s post. He made the demand during his meeting party vice president Rahul Gandhi and is awaiting assurance.

Also read: Will Narayan Rane jump ship or not?

Congress leaders pay Narayan Rane a visit as he prepares to meet followers in Sindhudurg

First Published: Apr 24, 2017 00:14 IST