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Will he or won’t he? Narayan Rane set for big political move in Maharashtra today

Rane, with his two sons and supporters, is likely to join the BJP

mumbai Updated: Sep 21, 2017 00:41 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Narayan Rane
A section of BJP, is still not convinced about Narayan Rane’s entry.(HT FILE)

All eyes in the political corridors are set on senior Congress leader Narayan Rane’s announcement about his next political move on Thursday. Rane is likely to announce his resignation from Congress in a press conference in Kudal in Konkan.

Rane, with his two sons and supporters, is reportedly set to join the BJP. In the absence of firm assurance from BJP leadership, Rane’s MLA son Nitesh and his staunch supporter and MLA Kalidas Kolambkar are unlikely to quit Congress immediately. Their resignation may lead to disqualification as party members leading to by-elections. The MLAs are not in favour of facing elections now.

BJP’s state leadership said their national leadership has not yet given them any instructions on Rane’s induction into the party. “We have around 40 leaders who have entered or are on the verge of entering BJP from other parties. Many of them have not been given anything as yet. Election tickets to Rane’s son and a cabinet berth to him would be too much. Rane’s induction into the state cabinet is also unlikely,” said a senior BJP leader.

A section of BJP, is still not convinced about Rane’s entry as they are apprehensive about the leader’s sons and their style of working. Another section, however, feels that Ranes may prove helpful in expanding party base in Konkan. Further, BJP’s ally Shiv Sena has already become aggressive over Rane’s possible BJP entry. “Even if decides to part ways with Congress, he will have to face by-elections to get re-elected to legislative council. To get re-elected, merely BJP support would not be sufficient. In such a situation, will Rane dare to quit?” said a Congress leader.

‘Rane is using shiv Sena to increase his bargaining power’

A day after Congress leader Narayan Rane said he had an offer to rejoin the Shiv Sena, the Sena has refuted the claim.

Rane, who is expected to join the BJP, said that a person close to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked him to get in touch with Thackeray so that he could return to the party but he declined the offer. On Wednesday, Rane’s son and former MP Nilesh said Thackeray’s personal assistant Milind Narvekar had offered the former Maharashtra chief minister to rejoin the Sena. However, Sena leaders rubbished the claims and Sena MP Anil Desai said Rane is using Sena’s name only to increase his bargaining power with the BJP.

The tussle between Rane and Narvekar is well known in political circles. In fact, when Rane was with the Sena, he had complained to founder Bal Thackeray against the increasing interference of Narvekar, party leaders pointed out. “There is absolutely no truth in this news. When Rane had that kind of enmity with Narvekar, and if at all he (Narvekar) had called him, why would he (Rane) pay heed to his word? So there is no substance in this,” said Desai.

Rane was expelled from the Sena in July 2005 for openly questioning Uddhav Thackeray’s ability to lead. Following his expulsion, Rane took a chunk of Sena MLAs and joined the Congress.

(Inputs from Swapnil Rawal)

First Published: Sep 21, 2017 00:41 IST