Narayan Rane forms new party

Narayan Rane forms new party
After months of suspense, veteran politician and Konkan strongman Narayan Rane on Sunday announced the launch of his political party, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha.

However, Rane has not given any direct indication whether he would be joining ranks with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

In the recent past, Rane had one-on-one meetings with top BJP leaders including BJP president Amit Shah and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“I have decided to form a new party, it will be called Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksha. I have just launched the party, I am waiting for some people to join, then I will decide the future course,” the 65-year-old Rane said.

“The motto of my party shall be fulfilling all our commitments and work for the interests of the people of the state. Common man and development both would be on agenda," Rane said.

When I left the Congress I had two options – to join a political party or form a new party. “I have decided to form a party,” he said.

Rane, however, slammed Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and his cousin and Maharahstra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray for targeting prime minister Narendra Modi and opposing the bullet train project.

Rane had been the revenue minister in the erstwhile Shiv Seva-BJP government between 1995-99 and also the  chief minister briefly.

Then they lost the polls, he became leader of opposition but in 2005 he was expelled by late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray for raising a banner of revolt against Uddhav.

He joined the Congress and became a minister in the Democratic Front government handling portfolios like revenue and then industries. According to him, the Congress high command went back on its promise of making him the chief minister.

He resigned from the Congress on 21 September - after by sidelined.

Asked whether he would join the NDA, he said that first let the party be formally formed and then other things will come.

However, he made it clear that he would work with 'like-minded parties" – an indication that he would be open to alliances and coalitions.

At the press conference, Rane, a Maratha leader, was accompanied by his older son Dr Nilesh Rane, a former MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, who too had resigned from the Congress. His younger son, Nitesh Rane, an MLA, however, has not resigned.  Asked when his son joins, he said in lighter vein: “I would ask an astrologer..when he tells….I will call a press conference and tell you all.”

He said that when he made up his mind to quit Congress, he had offers from all political parties including the Republican Party of India. “I have friends in all political parties including the Congress except (Maharashtra Congress president) Ashok Chavan,” he said in lighter vein.

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