After two days of 'will he, won't he', former chief minister Narayan Rane joined the BJP-led NDA yesterday. The veteran leader's political party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, will support the BJP, putting an end to speculation following his exit from the Congress last month after 12 years with the party. Rane was CM for a brief while in 1999 when he was in the Shiv Sena.

Nitesh (second from left) and Narayan Rane (right)
Nitesh (second from left) and Narayan Rane (right)

Opposing teams
While switching parties and crossing floors may be par for the course, Rane's BJP alliance gives an interesting tweak in his household. His son Nitesh is in the "opposite camp" so to speak - a Congress MLA.

Playing down the "difference in parties", Nitesh said, "I have seen my father suffocate for 12 years with the Congress. By suffocate I mean being stifled. I don't speak as an MLA but as a son, when I say I have seen his suffocation and witnessed his pain." "When he joined the Congress, he was 54. He was promised a certain role. Yet, he was repeatedly rebuffed, fobbed off instead with assurances like 'it will happen in a week', 'it will happen in a month', " he added.

"Today, he is 65; he has lost all those years. With his new party, he wants to work for Maharashtra." Asked if his father used to discuss the proposed break from the Congress with him, Nitesh said, "Yes, we used to talk about it at home. You know, politics is all about timing. Today, I am a Congress MLA. Yet, I see no difficulty or awkwardness in my father and I being in different parties. My father will tell me what to do; he is my leader and guide. He has not asked me to resign as yet. The people have elected me for five years and I have to respect that; maybe, my father wants me to do that too."

The leader
He, however, did say that he was a "technical" member of the Congress, not particularly allied with the party's ideology. "Eventually, I see myself working for my father, I do not know when this will happen. I know one thing, that the remote control is in his (my father's) hands," the often-controversial Nitesh signed off.