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Narayan Rane to quit ministry

The sulking Rane has resigned as Industries Minister, after his efforts to oust CM Prithviraj Chavan as the party’s leader in the state failed; he will announce his future course of action on Monday

Belligerent Industries Minister Narayan Rane has decided to relinquish his post from the state cabinet. His resignation, which he had submitted soon after the Lok Sabha election disaster, is already with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Sources said that CM Prithviraj Chavan tried his best to convince Rane to participate in party meetings, but failed in his effort. File pic
Sources said that CM Prithviraj Chavan tried his best to convince Rane to participate in party meetings, but failed in his effort. File pic

Rane had been sulking ever since his son Nilesh lost in the Lok Sabha elections from his stronghold Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg. In no mood to relent, he has skipped at least two important cabinet and party meetings in the past few days.

On Wednesday, the leader who joined the Congress in 2005 after being sacked by the Shiv Sena, did not attend the weekly meeting of the state cabinet held at Sahyadri, even though he was in town.

Rane later turned up at his Mantralaya office in the afternoon. “I could not attend due to some personal work,” he told mid-day when asked about his no-show at the cabinet meeting.

Cancelled meetings
Due to his reluctance to participate, the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) had to cancel review meetings on the Konkan division twice.

The MPCC has completed its exercise for all regions Vidarbha, Marathwada, North and Western Maharashtra, etc except Konkan. The party has decided to organise regional-level rallies in Western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada, except the Konkan area.

Rane is not happy with the party leadership after his son Nilesh lost the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat to Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut. His grouse is against the Congress as well as NCP, which, according to him, did not take his suggestions seriously. He felt a section of leaders neither participated, nor asked their cadres to pitch in to campaign for his son.

Failed campaign
Soon after the Lok Sabha poll results, Rane wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and even met her twice. He is believed to have informed the party high command that he was not keen to continue in the Prithviraj Chavan-led government, as it was not taking decisions on priority basis.

His future course of action is not known. When reporters asked him in a meeting if he would quit the party as well, he replied in the negative, but stressed that his decision to leave the government was final, and that he wouldn’t meet any leader to discuss it.

But, whether he would partake in campaigning for the state assembly polls is a question he will answer on Monday, along with reasons for taking such steps. The leader said he was leaving for a three-day tour in the Konkan region to address his followers there.

'Didn't meet Nitin Gadkari'
Rumours are doing the rounds that Rane may jump ship to the BJP and that he met Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Sources close to him say that Rane may take some drastic steps, including not contesting in the state assembly elections.

They added that a channel of discussion is open with the BJP, but no decision has been forthcoming – apparently due to certain reservations about him. Also, the party is wary of how its ally Shiv Sena would react, after Rane’s acrimonious departure from the Sena.

Quelling talk about his purported meeting with Gadkari, Rane said he last met him at Gopinath Munde’s funeral. There is also a possibility that Rane may float a political front using the banner of Swabhiman Sanghathana, a social organisation run by his son Nitesh and later align with Raj Thackeray-led MNS.

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