Uddhav Thackeray, Narayan Rane share dais after 12 yearsmumbai Updated: Jun 25, 2017 00:26 IST
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray(HT File)
Twelve years after being expelled from the Shiv Sena, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane and the Sena chief shared a stage at a public function in Kudal, Sindhudurg. The camaraderie between Rane and BJP leaders on the occasion has also led to talk about the former’s entry to the BJP.
Rane and Thackeray, who are bitter rivals, mentioned each other in their speeches at the foundation-stone laying ceremony of the Mumbai - Goa highway quadrupling project. While Thackeray referred to Rane as his “former colleague”, Rane welcomed Thackeray and his wife, Rashmi, to Sindhudurg. Though the leaders were cordial to each other on the stage, the supporters of Rane and Sena, were engaged in sloganeering at the function.
Rane was expelled from Sena for questioning Thackeray’s ability to lead. Following his expulsion, Rane took a chunk of Sena MLAs and joined the Congress. Later, he launched a vicious campaign against the Thackerays, and Uddhav Thackeray too has been overtly critical of Rane.
Meanwhile, the former Maharashtra chief minister created a flutter when he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for “taking the state towards progress”. The Congress leader has been cozying up to the BJP since a few months now, and there are strong rumours that he is trying switch to BJP. Not just Modi and Fadnavis, Rane also praised Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari and called him a ‘vikas purush’.
Rane has openly expressed his discontent at the Congress and has been giving mixed signals for a few months. In an indication that he has issues with Congress and its leadership, posters of Rane welcoming Fadnavis and Gadkari were put up in Kudal. Interestingly, the Congress party symbol was conspicuously missing on these posters. Rane has denied the rumours of a switch all along.
The quadrupling of the highway is crucial to improve inter-state connectivity and to reduce the number of accidents on the existing two-lane highway. It will also improve connectivity to the Konkan district. The estimated cost of the quadrupling of the three packages is Rs3,487.58 crore.