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Navneet Rana’s battle for Amravati: controversies and confidence!

Updated on: 23 April,2024 04:48 AM IST  |  Amravati
Dipti Singh |

BJP’s Navneet Rana gears up for Lok Sabha elections, emphasising achievements and dismissing attacks

Navneet Rana’s battle for Amravati: controversies and confidence!

Navneet Rana interacting with Shree Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal's students on 'Vision Amravati—an Interaction With the Youth' during a campaign programme. Pic/Satej Shinde

At the Ganga-Savitri bungalow in Amravati's Rajapeth area, the daily hustle begins early as people gather for the MP's election campaign. Navneet Rana, the current MP and BJP candidate, meets supporters and gets ready for the day. Amravati is gearing up for Lok Sabha elections on April 26.

Navneet Ravi Rana, also known as Navneet Kaur Rana, originally from Mumbai, comes from a military family. After her schooling, she became a model and appeared in music videos and films. Her political journey started after marrying Ravi Rana, an Independent MLA, in 2011.

Although she lost her first election in 2014 with the NCP, she won as an independent candidate backed by Congress and NCP in the 2019 elections. Despite her success, her career faced challenges. In 2021, she was fined for a "fake caste certificate" but defended herself, stating the Supreme Court's recent decision supported her.

In 2022, Rana and her husband were arrested for insisting on reciting the Hanuman Chalisa in front of the then Maharashtra CM's residence. Despite facing opposition, Rana is determined to win again in the upcoming elections, focusing on her work and vision rather than the obstacles.

Though facing criticism, Rana remains confident, expressing her vision for the constituency and challenging her rivals to confront her directly in an interview with mid-day.

What are the issues you are focusing on currently, and what will be your priority if you are elected for a second term?
In the past five years, I've focused on completing announced projects, like the airport and rail wagon repair workshop. We're upgrading Badnera and Amravati railway stations and building South Asia's largest skywalk. I established the Institute of Mass Communication and initiated a medical college. Looking ahead, the establishment of a textile park is a key priority for my second term. This initiative holds immense potential to create job opportunities for around two to three lakh people in the region. Furthermore, we are exploring the possibility of upgrading and reintroducing the 110-year-old British-era narrow-gauge Shankuntala train as a broad gauge service.

Your rivals claim that there is strong anti-incumbency sentiment and resentment against you in the constituency. What is your response to this?
Opposition often tries to undermine the incumbent, but my nomination by the BJP, endorsed by Prime Minister Modi, reflects the support I have in the constituency. The BJP operates based on merit, and my nomination shows their trust in me. Actions speak louder than words; I'll let my work speak for itself.

Many have opposed your candidacy from the constituency, including MLA Bacchu Kadu, who despite being part of Mahayuti, has fielded a candidate against you. How do you anticipate this multi-cornered fight unfolding?
Is Bacchu Kadu still part of Mahayuti, or has he joined Maha Vikas Aghadi? This is a question I have. I doubt his allegiance to Mahayuti. I've heard that he has pledged support to 11 Congress candidates, including those in Ramtek and Akola. It's essential to stand firmly with one's family; why pretend to remain within the family while supporting rivals? Apart from Kadu, everyone else has expressed support for me and agreed to collaborate. Some prioritise loyalty to their family, while others seek to safeguard their Vidhan Sabha seats. Both strategies seem to be at play.

Your opponents have launched direct attacks against you during their rallies and public meetings, often referring to you as an outsider. How do you plan to address this?
My opponents resort to baseless attacks because they lack substantive issues to criticize me on. Recently, Sanjay Raut made disparaging remarks about me, even threatening me to bury me 20 feet deep. However, wherever one comes to Amravati, the focus is on Navneet Rana. "Itna dam hai Uddhav Thackeray ke seene mein" (If Uddhav Thackeray had so much guts), why didn't they contest from this seat? This is my question to him. For the past five terms, only Shiv Sena has represented this constituency. I won only in the last election. Instead of discussing the progress and work being done, they resort to senseless attacks.

A video of you claiming there was "no Modi wave" recently went viral, prompting criticism from your rivals and the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi. What is your response to this?
The viral video was doctored and misconstrued. I never denied the existence of a Modi wave. In fact, wherever I campaign, I witness strong support for Modi. Even during the Ram Navami rally in Amravati, youngsters enthusiastically chanted Modi's name and the slogan "Abki baar 400 paar." This indicates a clear Modi wave across the nation.

Prime Minister Modi has called for “Abki baar 400 paar”. How achievable do you think this is, as one of the candidates in the fray?
I am confident that we will not only achieve but surpass the target of “400 paar”. Having observed the sentiments of the people in recent elections, I can attest that claims of no Modi wave or dissatisfaction with the current government are mere fake narratives created by the Opposition. On the ground, people warmly receive us and express their fondness for Modiji. These silent supporters may not vocalize their support by waving flags or shouting slogans, but will decisively vote for the BJP and Modiji.

Year Navneet married Ravi

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