Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Narayan Rane, who recently launced his new party called Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh after quitting from Congress party, has decided to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Rane said he had conveyed his decision on Friday to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who invited Rane to join the BJP-led NDA in a meeting on Tuesday. Rane had sought two days’ time to take a formal decision about aligning his newly-floated party with the NDA. Announcing his move, Rane was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, “I have taken the decision to join the NDA. We will work with the NDA in the larger interest of development of Konkan region and Maharashtra state.” While BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari spoke on the development and said that anybody who is willing to be part of the NDA is welcome, reported the Indian Express.
Rane while dismissing the speculation that he would be accommodated in the Union Cabinet, said that he will stay in Maharashtra till 2019, reported PTI. Meanwhile, a senior BJP official was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, “In all likelihood, there is a possibility of cabinet expansion and reshuffle after Diwali. Rane will be given a cabinet berth.” The BJP has, however, categorically said it would not engage in any bargaining with Rane on portfolio.
Rane had resigned from the Congress last month while accusing the party of reneging on the promise of making him the chief minister when he had joined the party 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena. He had also resigned as a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. He is a prominent leader from the influential Maratha community and hails from Sindhudurg district of the Konkan region. Rane was the chief minister in 1999 while in the Shiv Sena, reported PTI.