Calculations went awry but no issues with Congress: Narayan Rane

Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane today attributed his defeat in the Bandra-East by-election to "political miscalculations" and said he had no complaints against party leaders in Maharashtra.

The former Chief Minister lost from his stronghold Kudal in Konkan region in the October Assembly elections and again bit the dust two days ago when he contested bypoll from Bandra (East) constituency in the metropolis. "In October 2014, Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS votes put together were about 72,500 (in Bandra-East) where as Congress had polled about 12,000 votes.

I thought I could restrict the Sena candidate (Trupti Sawant) to about 40,000 votes but she got 52,000 votes. "I felt the people from Konkan who reside in that constituency would support me. My calculations went wrong. If I had got the 10,000 votes I was expecting from those who hail from Konkan, I would have won," Rane told PTI when asked about reasons for his latest defeat.

Muslim votes got divided between MIM, the Sena and him, said Rane, who lost by over 19,000 votes in the bypoll necessitated by the death of the sitting Sena legislator, whose wife emerged the winner. The 62-year-old politician, who quit Sena in 2005, said he had no complaints against Congress and its leaders over the bypoll outcome and said everyone worked wholeheartedly for his victory.

Rane distanced himself from an editorial in Marathi daily "Prahar", of which he is the owner and editorial consultant, which had sought to put the onus of his defeat on lack of support from Congress. "The newspaper editor is free to air his views through the edit. As owner I don't influence the editorial policy," Rane said.

He asked his rivals not to speculate on his political future. "Nobody can take the designation of a Congress leader from me. I will continue to raise my voice against the Government and Sena-BJP combine," he said. Asked whether it was wise for him to enter the poll fray from Mumbai, the Shiv Sainik-turned-Congressman said he did so on the party leadership's directive.

Asked about speculation that his MLA-son Nitesh might resign from his Kankavli seat so that he can contest again and enter the Assembly, Rane said, "there is no need for this. He should not resign abruptly." Hitting out at the Sena for the manner in which its workers (who waved live chickens) celebrated his defeat, the former Minister said there was "lack of culture" in the saffron outfit.

"They forgot the bypoll was necessitated because of the death of their own MLA. They celebrated my defeat throughout the state. This shows how important I am," Rane said. He lashed out at Sena leader and Minister Ramdas Kadam who alleged that he had offered crores of rupees in bribe to MIM before the by-election.

"Kadam is a disgrace and not fit to be a Cabinet Minister. He should furnish proof and disclose name of the person to whom I made this offer," he said. Asked if he felt the Bandra bypoll was a victory for Sena chief and his bete noire Uddhav Thackeray, Rane said, "A victory is a victory and a defeat is a defeat. I accept (the poll outcome)." However, the Congress leader said Sena was not confident of its win till the last moment and he managed his campaign well.

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