The Importance of being Narayan Rane
HT looks at five reasons how and why this leader from Konkan is still relevant in state politics and how all parties will be impacted by his switchover.mumbai Updated: Sep 21, 2017 13:15 IST
As senior Congress leader and former Sena rebel plans his third innings in politics by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), HT looks at five reasons how and why this leader from Konkan is still relevant in state politics and how all parties will be impacted by his switchover.
1. Over a four-decade-long political career, from Shiv Sena shakha pramukh (ward chief) of Chembur to chief minister of Maharashtra in 1999, Rane’s rise in politics was under Sena chief Bal Thackeray. After things soured as he could not get along with Thackeray’s son and political heir, Uddhav Thackeray, Rane quit the party in 2005 with 12 sitting legislators to join Congress.
2. Rane is bitter about his association with the Congress; his attempts to become chief minister did not succeed. Though he held important portfolios including revenue and industries, his rebellion against the Congress high command in 2008 led to him being sidelined in the party. On the brink of his second rebellion and switch from the Congress to the BJP, he has the support of only two sitting legislators, including his son, Nitesh. The other legislator and close aide, Kalidas Kolambkar, is also likely to join chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ camp, as soon as he enters the BJP.
3. Despite losing political clout, Rane continues to have sway in his native Sindhudurg district in Konkan. He is among the few Congress leaders still capable of dominating his constituency. Besides administrative experience, Rane has money power and electoral acumen, to win at least a couple of assembly seats for any political party he belongs to. This will be important for the BJP as it heads for the 2019 polls solo.
4. The BJP hopes to get a hold in the Konkan through Rane. This is a region where BJP has still not managed to gain a foothold as the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are strong here. The state BJP unit lacks experienced leaders after the demise of Gopinath Munde and senior leader Nitin Gadkari being inducted in the Central cabinet. Rane, a senior Maratha leader, could help the party to fill some of the experience vacuum but sources in the BJP said that he is also likely to prove to be an irritant for chief minister Fadnavis.
5. The departure of Rane and his followers could leave the Congress with fewer numbers in the state assembly and at the risk of losing the tag of main Opposition party in Maharashtra, and with it the post of Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly to the NCP. It will also lead to bypolls in the state in these two seats and the BJP could increase its tally by two. The BJP is short of 23 legislators for a majority in the House. But, with the help of independents and smaller parties it can take its tally to 139 and with Rane’s followers up to 141, much closer to the magic number of 145.