Congress has lost, not Narayan Rane, says son Nitesh
Distancing the Ranes from an editorial in their family-owned newspaper Prahaar accusing Congress leaders of working for Narayan Rane’s defeat in the Bandra East bypoll, his younger son Nitesh added in the same breath yesterday that his father had won and the Congress had lost.
A file photo of Nitesh Rane (centre) filing his nomination for the Kankavli seat during the 2014 Assembly polls, flanked by elder brother Nilesh (left) and Narayan Rane. While Nitesh had won, his father had lost from his stronghold, Kudal
“Narayan Rane has won, but the Congress has lost,” Nitesh told mid-day yesterday, blaming his father’s loss on a weak local unit of the Congress in Bandra East. “The total votes my father has garnered against all odds prove that he has won as an individual and a leader.
On the other hand, the Congress did not live up to expectations as an organisation. There was no organisational support on the ground for the Congress. We had to have a setup in place in a mere 15 days against the Shiv Sena’s ground-level network.”
While Rane polled 33,703 votes, Shiv Sena’s Trupti Sawant garnered 52,711, pushing AIMIM candidate Siraj Khan (15,050 votes) to third position. The defeat was the second consecutive major setback for Rane, who had lost his stronghold, Kudal, in Sindhudurg in the October 2014 Assembly polls by a massive margin of more than 10,200 votes.
The fate was repeated in Bandra East on April 15. Earlier, Rane’s elder son, Nilesh, had lost his Parliamentary seat to the Sena in April 2014. The only solace for the family was Nitesh’s victory from Kankavli (also in Sindhudurg) in the Assembly polls.
Phoenix will rise
Nitesh refused to consider the Bandra East upset a major threat to his father’s political career and denied any possibility of the senior Rane taking any anti-Congress steps in the future.
“My father contested Bandra only because our party wanted him to do so. And he has proved his worth by increasing the party’s 2014 tally by 21,000 votes. This shows his personal strength. He would have won hands down if the party had a dedicated organisation in place in Bandra.”
He said his father would rise like a phoenix from the ashes because there is no place for voluntary retirement in politics. “My father loves to take risks. Nobody should write him off… he will come back with a bang very soon.”
An editorial in Prahaar yesterday had accused Congress leaders, who had accompanied Rane for campaigning, of working for his defeat. “Many Congress leaders who were with Rane in the day, changed their roles after sunset to work against the party candidate,” it said. Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said that Narayan Rane himself had praised all senior party leaders for cooperating with him.
He said he was there helping Rane all through the campaign, except for the last couple of days, because he had taken official leave with approval from the party bosses. “Currently, I’m with my family on a vacation, which was planned three months before the poll dates were announced,” Nirupam told mid-day.