Rahul Gandhi, paternal love keep Narayan Rane from quitting Congress
After a fortnight of uncertainty, the Narayan Rane resignation saga finally drew to a close for the Congress yesterday, but not without the belligerent minister extracting his pound of flesh.
Narayan Rane, accompanied by his sons Nitesh (left) and Nilesh, at a press conference yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Highly placed sources have told mid-day that Rane has got a personal assurance from AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi that he would be treated with respect and his stature would be on a par with, if not a little higher than, that of CM Prithviraj Chavan.
Having decided to stay in the Congress, a visibly relieved Rane addressed reporters yesterday and said that the party had decided that the upcoming state polls would be fought under a collective leadership.
Facing a barrage of questions during his media interaction, he asked MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre to clear the party stand on him first. Thakre said Rane was a senior leader of the party and that
he would shoulder an important responsibility.
Sources from the Congress said efforts to pacify Rane gained momentum on Sunday and Monday, after the industries minister’s announcement that he would make his stand on the resignation clear on Tuesday.
AICC state-in-charge Mohan Prakash, who was in constant touch with Rane, played the role of mediator between him and Rahul Gandhi. Ministers such as Patangrao Kadam were also involved in persuading him not to quit.
Till Tuesday morning, Rane was firm on snapping ties with the Congress. But, said a close associate, he was convinced against it because there was no viable option.
No other party was in a position to offer him anything according to his stature and, most importantly, he was not sure of being able to arrange seats and posts for his sons Nilesh and Nitesh if he joined any other party. “The political future of his sons had become a crucial issue for him,” said a Congress minister.
To pacify Rane, the Congress brass also gave in to his demand that he should be given importance in party matters, more than that given to CM Prithviraj Chavan. Rane may even take over as the state in-charge for assembly polls with CM Chavan and MPCC chief Thakre assisting him, said sources.
Speaking to reporters, Rane said that the party had assured him that he would be treated with respect and that he, in turn, had decided to respect the wishes of the senior leadership. “I will start campaigning from tomorrow (Wednesday),” he said.
When he was reminded that he had been given assurances in the past, too, Rane said, “Those assurances were different from the ones given now. I want to stay in politics. For that, I need to trust someone or the other.”