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With Narayan Rane out, Congress plans inroads to win in Maharashtra’s Konkan

After 12 years of service, Narayan Rane’s exit is now being seen as a setback for the Congress

mumbai Updated: Sep 23, 2017 00:36 IST
Surendra Gangan
Surendra Gangan
Hindustan Times
Narayan Rane,Congress,NCP
The party’s state leadership said they were prepared for Rane’s resignation. (HT File)

The Congress has prepared a plan to counter the challenge posed by senior leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane’s exit and to curtail any future damage. The party has decided to contest the gram panchayat elections in Sindhudurg and convince its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), to save its post of Opposition leader in the Assembly, should its strength drop in the future.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have maintained a studious silence over Rane’s exit from Congress and possible induction into their party. “How can we comment on the matter? Let Rane make his official stance clear,’’ said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.

After 12 years of service, Rane’s exit is now being seen as a setback for the Congress. The party is worried about Rane’s claim that many Congress leaders and workers will defect with him.

To avert a potential exodus, the party has decided to take an aggressive stance and reach out to its leaders and cadre. It also reacted swiftly to Rane’s allegations, with national Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala saying the party had never promised Rane the post of chief minister. The party’s state in-charge Mohan Prakash added that Rane was given more than any other party leader was. His family was given three tickets during the 2014 assembly and Lok Sabha polls, said Prakash.

The party’s state leadership said they were prepared for Rane’s resignation. “Rane’s resignation was a mere formality. Over the past few months, he did not join the party for the Sangharsh Yatra or its fight against the government inside the legislative houses. Local Congress workers in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and other parts had complained to leadership about Rane’s high-handedness and working style.

Party command took serious notice of reports that his son Nilesh attacked and abducted a party worker last year. With this in mind, Rane’s exit does not come as a major loss. In fact, the party compelled him to quit by dissolving the district unit last week,” said a party leader.

Another leader said the party workers and corporators from Sindhudurg had told leadership of their desire to stay with the party. Prakash said the party would fare better during the general elections in 2019 in Konkan.

“Rane’s resignation is sad, but the loss is not irreparable. Congress workers face challenging times, but always emerge with more strength. We have nothing to lose in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri. We will do better in the forthcoming elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha,” Prakash told HT. Rane said he would discuss his future plans on Dussehra.

Though he is believed to be joining the BJP, revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said on Friday no such talks had been held yet and that such decisions could only be taken by national leadership.

First Published: Sep 23, 2017 00:35 IST