Narayan Rane's supporters want him to lead Congress

May 23, 2014, 08:58 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

After a shameful loss in the general elections, the party’s Sindhudurg unit passed a resolution stating that Rane should take charge of the party’s state leadership; their office bearers also boycotted CM’s review meeting

It appears the Congress is imploding after the rout in the Lok Sabha elections. The party’s Sindhudurg unit passed a resolution two days ago, asking that Industries Minister Narayan Rane be handed over the reins of the state leadership. Office bearers from the district also boycotted a Thursday review meeting that was to be attended by CM Prithviraj Chavan and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre.

Narayan Rane
Narayan Rane

The resolution was passed two days ago, in which the party’s high command had been asked to make Rane the party’s leader in the state. Satish Sawant, the party’s Sindhudurg district chief, announced it in a press conference.

NEW BOSS? Narayan Rane has been sulking ever since his son Nilesh (inset) lost in the race for the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency. File picNEW BOSS? Narayan Rane has been sulking ever since his son Nilesh (above) lost in the race for the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency. File Pic

Trouble after loss
The review meeting was called at Tilak Bhavan, the state Congress headquarters, but office bearers from Sindhudurg chose to go to Rane’s official residence Dnyaneshwari.

Rane is unhappy with the CM and MPCC, and has been sulking ever since his son Nilesh lost the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat by more than 1.5 lakh votes to Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut. Rane senior had quit the party in 2005. Rane had already handed in his resignation even before the results were announced on May 16. He also skipped the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. His resignation was rejected and efforts were on to pacify him by late Thursday evening.

In another separate incident, party workers and office bearers from Bhiwandi came to blows with ex MP Suresh Taware, over complaints that Taware and his supporters had sabotaged the party’s campaign.

It was alleged that his supporters campaigned against the party’s official candidate Vishwanath Patil, who lost to BJP’s Kapil Patil by 1.09 lakh votes.

'High command's decision'
Meanwhile, MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre responded to demands for a change in the state leadership, saying that the decision of choosing a CM and the state chief rests with the All India Congress Committee President — Sonia Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Ex CM Ashok Chavan has said that the Congress is facing tough challenges and immediate corrective steps need to be taken to boost the sagging morale of workers after the party was decimated in the Lok Sabha polls. The results were shocking and have to be analysed, said Chavan at Tilak Bhavan.

'Lost due to English'

In their post-mortem analysis of the elections, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) thinks English cost the UPA government dearly.

Sharad Pawar

Speaking to the media, NCP spokesperson said the BJP’s leaders spoke aggressively in Hindi against the government’s policies, which helped connect with the maximum number of people. But, the response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and finance minister P Chidambaram was in English, which is one of the reasons for the defeat, he said.

Malik was speaking after a meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to take stock of the political situation and the upcoming assembly polls. All party ministers except Praful Patel — who lost in Bhandara-Gondia — attended the meeting. Pawar will address his party legislators, Lok Sabha candidates, district chiefs and office-bearers today.

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