The former Sainik and the Shiv Sena chief made their first joint appearance in 12 years, even as Narayan Rane cosied up to BJP leaders at the same event in his home district, Sindhudurg
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, CM Devendra Fadnavis, Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu and former Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Mumbai-Goa four-lane highway at Kudal on Friday. Pic/PTI
Congress leader Narayan Rane sprang yet another surprise on Friday when he shared a dais with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray in Kudal, Konkan. This is the first time in 12 years that the former Sainik and the Sena chief have appeared together at a public function.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of a project to widen the Goa-Mumbai highway passing through his home district, Sindhudurg, Rane also welcomed Uddhav and his wife Rashmi there. Uddhav too reciprocated and mentioned Rane at the very beginning of his speech.
Camaraderie with BJP
Also present on the dais were Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari. The camaraderie between them and Rane has once again sparked talks of his defection to the national party. "Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra and Narendra Modi in Delhi are doing great work for overall development. Gadkari is a vikas pusrush (pioneer of development)," Rane told the rally, which was attended by Sena and BJP workers and Rane supporters. Some Congress workers who were opposed to Rane were whisked away by police.
Sources said the event was planned with the purpose of giving Rane an opportunity to earn some credit. Gadkari, who is in favour of bringing Rane into the BJP's fold, ensured that the ex-CM attended the function and was accorded a due protocol.
"Politics and sentiments should not clash with development. I appreciate what is good and expect the people of Konkan to do the same," Rane said.
Sunny dreams of Cali
Uddhav too appealed all leaders and parties to come together to develop the Konkan region on the lines of California in the US. "We have talked so much until now, but Konkan still remains a backward region. It's time we worked on the field and not just make speeches," said the Sena president.
Rane's younger son Nitesh is an MLA (Congress) from one of the constituencies in the region, while Rane lost the 2014 Assembly election from a neighbouring constituency. He now represents the Congress in the upper house after he lost a by-election in Bandra.
Watch video: Leopard attacks stray dog for breakfast in Mumbai
Download the new mid-day android app to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go https://goo.gl/8Xlcvr