In a scathing attack on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, defiant Industries Minister Narayan Rane had alleged that the CM had befriended the Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to defeat his son Nilesh in the Lok Sabha polls.
Industries Minister Narayan Rane has accused CM Prithviraj Chavan of being hand-in-glove with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to ensure the defeat of his son, Nilesh, in the Lok Sabha elections. File pics
This allegation, according to a senior Congress leader, was made in a letter written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi by Rane soon after his son suffered a shock defeat in their stronghold, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg.
Rane complained to Gandhi that though he had always supported the CM in Cabinet meetings, the floor of the House and in the public - even taking the BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP head-on the latter always looked upon him as his competitor.
Prithviraj Chavan and Uddhav Thackeray
“He befriended Uddhav Thackeray to crush me politically. This led to the defeat of my son Dr Nilesh,” Rane is believed to have said in his letter to Gandhi.
The angry minister is believed to have been under the impression that Congress office bearers colluded with the Sena to defeat his son and it is believed that Rane’s implication was that they were acting at the CM’s behest.
'Failed to check NCP'
According to senior Congress office bearers who are in the know of ongoing developments related to Rane’s defiant position, the Congress president had summoned him to discuss issues he had raised in the letter.
But, Congress leaders say, it did not mollify him. Rane’s main grouse was that though the NCP is an alliance partner, the Sharad Pawar-led party always considers the Congress its enemy in Maharashtra.
“Even during the Lok Sabha (LS) elections, NCP leaders campaigned openly against Congress candidates. Since the home department was with the NCP, the state police force was used as a weapon to defeat Congress candidates.
Despite being informed about the callous behaviour of senior police officers that was detrimental to Congress’s interests, the chief minister failed to take it seriously,” Rane is said to have told Gandhi.
The minister also added that he had apprised the CM of Sindhudurg Superintendent of Police Abhishek Trimukhe’s partisan behaviour in favour of the NCP, but the chief minister neither took action nor did he transfer the officer. He also blamed the NCP and some Congress workers who “ensured his son’s defeat just to cut him to size”.
Rane will address a press conference today to elaborate on the reasons for his exit. During this, he is expected to highlight controversial decisions made by the CM. The decisions from the CM-headed urban development and housing department, sources said, could include those about the parking lot development policy in Mumbai, under which developers get incentive FSI and those on increasing FSI in special townships to favour developers.
Rane’s grouses against the CM
Here are some of the observations Rane made to Sonia Gandhi about the CM:
1. His performance during the LS polls was pathetic and lacklustre as he did not take any senior Congressman into confidence. MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, too, failed to lift the morale of party workers
2. Congress candidates were not given sufficient campaign material during the elections. Congress MLAs are unhappy with the leadership as the state government has not been supportive towards them.
3. Decision-making is very slow.
4. Nothing much can be expected during the upcoming state assembly polls; there is no strategy to ensure a victory at the government and party level