Congress strongman in Maharashtra Narayan Rane on Thursday formally announced his resignation from the party, ending his decade plus-long association with the party and after months of speculation.
Besides stepping down from his legislative council seat, Rane also resigned from the primary membership of the Congress.
“I do not run after posts…they come to me. Not only the Konkan region, but the party will see a massive exodus across,” said Rane in a show of strength in Kudal town in Sindhudurg district. He claimed that 25 Congress corporators across the state had also quit in solidarity with him.
However, he is currently tight lipped about his joining the BJP or floating a political party of his own.
“A decision would be made by Dussehra…one should take things easily…Many [political parties] are clamouring for my entry,” he said.
The ex INC member and Konkan stalwart announced his intention to tour the State, beginning with Nagpur on Friday and covering Vidarbha and Marathwada in the next few days.
He also expressed his bitterness of being given false hopes by his party, time and again for the past decade.
“I went to a national party with great hopes…yet, during all my 12 years with the Congress, they never made use of my capacity. Instead, I was insulted,” he alleged.
Rane expressed disappointment over how he was ‘overlooked’ time and again in favour of Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan. He also described how he was overlooked for the top job for Maharashtra Congress no less than four times, despite repeated assurances by top Congress leaders like Ahmed Patel that he would get it, as reported by The Hindu.
“At one time, three Central observers, Pranab Mukherjee, Digvijay Singh and A.K.Antony, too approved of my name… 48 legislators supported me as their chief minister of choice…yet, all this came to nothing,” he said.
Rane was once a Shiv Sena strongman and Kudal legislator for six terms. However, the Sena’s Vaibhav Naik in the 2014 assembly elections defeated him comprehensively.
Since then, his political fortunes have been only on decline, leading to his frustration and inability to find ground.
Rane’s bitter rival and Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan, in conjunction with the party’s state in-charge, Mohan Prakash, decided to dissolve the district committee in Sindhudurg last week. This deeply anguished Rane, as most of the members in the committee were believed to be his loyal aides. This led him to openly censure Mr. Chavan and Mr. Prakash, among his bitterest critics within the party.
Meeting with Amit Shah and BJP
Rane had personally visited BJP president Amit Shah in Gujarat in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He also had a recent meeting with Fadnavis during the Ganesha festivities.
Rane’s exit from the Congress may not shock many close to him said that his moving to BJP was just a matter of time. He had met Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, earlier this year to seek redressal of his ‘grievances.’.
About Narayan Rane
Narayan Rane was the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1999, succeeding Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena. He had also served as a Minister for Industry, Port, Employment and Self-employment in Maharashtra government. He was a member of Shiv Sena and opposition leader of Vidhan Sabha until July 2005 before he joined the Indian National Congress.
There have been at least five occasions when Rane and his son have spoken out against and mocked BJP and Modi during their time in the INC :
- As reported by PTI in 2014, Rane in a scathing attack on BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, had said that the Gujarat Chief Minister was a “liar” and “devoid of human values”. “Modi is a person without humanity and we can see that from the 2002 Gujarat riots,” he had told reporters in Sindhudurg.
- In a public address in Aug 2016, Rane had called the BJP government as the government of the ‘malls’ only and not poor common man
3. At another public address in 2014, Rane had criticized Modi as betraying the people of Gujrat. He had also said, that Modi only passed comments on Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and INC.
4. In 2013, Nitesh Rane, son of Narayan Rane had tweeted a highly offensive picture mocking Narendra Modi.
5. In Nov 2104, Rane had quoted to IANS that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis was an honest man, however, he lacked administrative acumen. He added that Fadanvis did not have the smartness to run a government and that he would not be able to do anything on his own as he will have to wait for orders from Delhi..
“Fadnavis is an honest, sincere man, but lacks administrative acumen. His Cabinet is bereft of experienced persons like Eknath Khadse. The ministry fails to impress and it does not appear if the government would be able to fulfill the peoples` expectations”.