Maharashtra leader Narayan Rane slams Congress for not keeping promise of making him chief minister

Kudal (Maharashtra): Maharashtra's former chief minister Narayan Rane on Tuesday accused the Congress of reneging on the promise of making him the chief minister, a day after he ranted against the party over "injustice" done to him and his supporters.

"I went to Congress because I was assured that I will be made chief minister in six months," Rane, who joined the Congress in 2005 after being expelled from the Shiv Sena, said.

 Maharashtra leader Narayan Rane slams Congress for not keeping promise of making him chief minister

File image of Narayan Rane. PTI

Rane, who has pockets of influence in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, was expelled by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray after he voiced displeasure over Uddhav Thackeray gaining prominence in the party.

Asked about his next step after he blasted the Congress and its state chief Ashok Chavan at a rally here on Monday, Rane claimed, "For me, there are vacancies everywhere, even in the Shiv Sena. But I won't go there."

Rane, a tough talking Maratha leader, who was handpicked by Bal Thackeray as chief minister when he decided to remove the genial Manohar Joshi ahead of the 2005 Assembly elections, claimed he had received an offer from the Sena to return to its fold.

He, however, did not say if he was offered any post.

"It's not about any post. I said I don't want to rejoin the Sena. If the Sena doesn't want me, why would the offer have been made," Rane told a Marathi news channel.

However, Rane's open revolt against Bal Thackeray and Uddhav still rankles with most leaders and members of the Sena, whose threat to pull out of the coalition government is being seen as an attempt to thwart the Maratha leader's entry into the BJP.

The speculation about his joining BJP got triggered with reports that he had met BJP president Amit Shah in Ahmedabad a few months ago. During the recent Ganesh festival, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited Rane's residence, fuelling it further.

On the Sena's threat to withdraw from the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, Rane said, "This is the old style of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray."

Rane said Sena often enacted the "drama" of threatening to quit the government while enjoying the privileges of power.

After a meeting of senior party functionaries, MPs and legislators called by Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had castigated the BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre, and said the party was "very close" to taking a decision on its continuance in the Maharashtra government.

"We are very close to taking a decision (on whether to continue in the government)... wait and watch," he had said.

Asked to comment on the performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Rane said he will speak on these issues on 21 September when he announces his next course of action.

He, however, left the door ajar for reconciliation with the Congress, saying if he was invited for talks by Chavan at 'Tilak Bhavan', the state party headquarters, he would go for it but at no other place.

"As of now, I am still in Congress," Rane said.

At Monday's rally, Rane had blasted the Congress for the "injustice" it has done to him and his supporters and hinted at quitting the party he had joined 12 years ago.

He said his supporters would contest the upcoming panchayat polls under a new entity- 'Samarth Vikas Panel'.

Rane had said he would announce the decision of "going in a new direction" at a press conference on 21 September.

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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2017 20:49:38 IST

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