The Congress is going out of its way to make sure its rebellious Industries Minister Narayan Rane stays within the party. Senior national and state leaders of the party spoke to the minister in a bid to control the damage he did by the public announcement of his resignation.
The Congress chief called Narayan Rane and also asked MPCC president Manikrao Thakre to meet him personally and ensure he does no damage to CM Prithviraj Chavan. Rane has said he will announce his reasons for quitting the government on Monday. File pics
Keeping in mind that Rane has taken up the cudgels against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the party is trying its best to pacify the leader, said sources. Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, spoke to Rane around 8.30 pm on Thursday and Sonia Gandhi spoke to him a little later.
She also asked Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre to meet Rane personally. Thakre went to meet the sulking minister at his Juhu residence, but failed to cut much ice.
mid-day’s July 18 report
Sources from the party informed this newspaper that Rane was reluctant to discuss his issues in detail with Thakre and, instead, asked for a meeting on Monday morning.
He has already announced that he will tender his resignation on Monday and address a press conference during which he is expected to target the chief minister and spell out his future agenda. mid-day had reported about this on Thursday and sources had told this paper that a channel of talks for Rane joining the BJP is also open.
Last morning, the CM himself called up Rane and spoke to him. This was his first call since the latter announced his decision to quit the government. According to senior leaders, Rane has serious issues with the CM and his style of working.
He is also deeply upset about the role played by senior Congress leaders during the election campaign for the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat. Rane strongly feels that a section of Congress leaders played spoilsport to ensure his son Nilesh’s defeat.
Uddhav a target too
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray made several comments against Rane after hearing of the possibility of him joining Sena ally BJP.
Thackeray declared that he wanted to make Rane’s stronghold the Konkan region ‘bhaymukt’ (free of fear), alleging that it is currently in fear of Rane. He also spoke of how he wouldn’t tolerate anyone in the alliance who had been a troublemaker for the Sena in the past.
Reacting to this, Rane, while addressing a press conference in Hathkambha, Ratnagiri, said it was in fact Uddhav who had troubled his father, Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, the most. “Even the staffers and the walls at Matoshree would speak of how he tormented his late father.
The Shiv Sena is leaderless; its performance in the Lok Sabha is due to the Modi wave,” said Rane. “If he continues to attack me, I will spill the beans and expose him,” added the leader, who is on a three-day tour of the region.