Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Finally, Narayan Rane quits Congress

Finally, Narayan Rane quits Congress

Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane on Thursday announced he was quitting the party as well as the membership of the state legislative council. Rane is expected to make the political announcement at 3.30pm in Kudal, Sindhudurg district.

However, he remained non-committal on the much-anticipated question of whether he would join the BJP or float a political party of his own.

Despite the broad hints thrown by Rane that he is BJP bound, there has been no official reaction from the destination party in Maharashtra.

Declaring that the Congress in Maharashtra was "finished", Rane claimed he was promised the chief minister's post in Maharashtra three times by the Congress leadership including by party president Sonia Gandhi.

Rane had joined the Congress in 2005 after being expelled from the Shiv Sena. "Yet Chavan was made the chief minister", he said.

He said he had no personal animosity towards state Congress chief Ashok Chavan but only felt that Chavan was not "fit to be the MPCC chief". "If the Sena doesn't want me, why would the offer have been made", Rane told a Marathi news channel. However, he was trounced comprehensively by the Sena's Vaibhav Naik in the 2014 Assembly elections.

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". This hit Mr. Rane hard, as most of the members in the committee were believed to be his loyal aides.

Meanwhile, speculation about his joining the BJP gathered steam after reports that Rane had met Amit Shah in Ahmedabad a few months back.

Congress leader Narayan Rane announced his exit from the party today. Rane recently went on a tour of his stronghold in Sindhudurg in Konkan, which is the coastal belt of Maharashtra.

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