Amid speculation that Narayan Rane of Congress might join the BJP, a Shiv Sena leader today took a dig at his party’s ruling ally asking it to “study the track record” of the ex-chief minister before admitting him into the fold. Rane, who was in the Shiv Sena before joining the Congress, has been sulking for quite some time, triggering speculation he might switch over to the BJP. “It is the BJP’s prerogative who it wants to induct into the party and who it wants to expel. But, since the BJP talks about transparent governance, it should first study Rane’s track record and only then think of taking him in the party fold,” Sena leader and Minister for State for Home Deepak Kesarkar said. Kesarkar also advised the BJP to take into account how strong a following Rane enjoys in the Konkan region of state, from where the former CM hails. “Rane has one MLA from the Konkan backing him. So what is the BJP going to gain politically by accepting him?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, a source in the Shiv Sena said accepting Rane into the party fold will increase the friction between the ruling allies– the Sena and the BJP. “We have given several hints to the BJP that inducting Narayan Rane will not go down well with us and will increase tensions in our relations,” the source said. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan last week said some people are “opportunists” who cannot stay without power, in remarks perceived as a swipe at Rane.
BJP’s state unit chief Raosaheb Danve had said the party should welcome others into its fold. “We need to grow our party and for that if a leader or a worker joins BJP, we should not oppose him. We need to welcome them instead of opposing,” Danve had told a rally in Jalna district yesterday. Sources in the state BJP said the party needs to increase its base beyond the seats it had contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. Rane’s entry in the BJP could be helpful in winning more seats in the general elections in the Konkan region, they added.
Earlier, state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil had said he would not only “welcome” Rane in the BJP fold but could also hand him over his PWD portfolio. Rane, who had served as the chief minister during the first tenure of the NDA government, suffered electoral setback in his home turf of Sindhudurg district in the Assembly polls. He is currently a Congress MLC.