Former Maharashtra CM Narayan Rane set to join BJP

Former Maharashtra CM Narayan Rane set to join BJP

Former Chief Minister Narayan Rane. File photo

In a development that could have a bearing on the BJP-Shiv Sena relations in Maharashtra, veteran politician and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane is set to join the BJP.

On Sunday, when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis concludes his Maha Janadesh Yatra in Solapur, Rane would merge his regional outfit, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP), with the BJP.

Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah and Working President Jagat Prakash Nadda would be present when a host of Maharashtra leaders including Rane joins the BJP.

The confirmation has come from Rane himself. "I will join the BJP on September 1 in Solapur where the Amit Shah will address a rally," Rane said.

Rane, who calls the shot in the South Konkan region, is currently a Rajya Sabha member with the backing of the BJP.

It is, however, not yet known whether 67-year-old Rane's sons - Dr Nilesh Rane, a former Congress MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg and Nitesh Rane, a sitting Congress MLA from Kankavli, would also join the BJP.

Rane is bete noire of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray - and his entry into the saffron alliance could spark off a war of words between the two alliance partners.

"It is like adding salt to sweet milk," remarked Minister of State for Home and senior Shiv Sena leader Deepak Kesarkar, while reacting to the development.

It needs to be mentioned that “No Holds Barred: My Years In Politics” - published by Harper Collins - Rane's autobiography that he wrote with Priyam Gandhi-Mody - has given some indications of his future course of action.

Under late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Rane started off as a Corporator of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and became the Chairman of BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST).

In 1995, when the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government came to power under Manohar Joshi, he became the Revenue Minister. Rane was Chief minister from 1 February to 17 October, 1999. 

He was then the Leader of Opposition in the state from 1999 to 2005 - but Thackeray had to expel him for raising a banner of revolt against Uddhav.

He subsequently joined the Congress and held the Revenue, Industry, Port and Employment portfolios in the state cabinet - under various Chief Ministers - Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan. Rane's main grudge was that despite the promise, he was not made the Chief Minister.

In the 2014 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls, he lost the elections and later a bye-election too.

He aspired to become the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) but that too did not materialise.

He was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council from 2016 to 2017, but he resigned from Congress.

He formed his own party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP), and was elected to the Rajya Sabha on a BJP nomination in 2018.

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