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Narayan Rane to meet Amit Shah in Delhi tomorrow

LiveMint logoLiveMint 24-09-2017 PTI

Mumbai: Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, who has quit the Congress, is scheduled to meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday.

Rane quit the Congress earlier this week amid speculations that he was keen on joining the BJP. “The venue and time of the meeting are not known yet, but Rane will be meeting Shah in Delhi tomorrow,” a person close to the Maratha leader told PTI. “He (Rane) will be inviting Shah to inaugurate a hospital at Padwe in Kudal in the Sindhudurg district,” he added.

There has been no word from the BJP yet on whether Rane will be joining the party. Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, when asked about the possibility of Rane joining the saffron party, had said that a decision in that regard would be taken by Shah as Rane was a former chief minister.

Announcing his decision to quit the Congress at his home turf of Sindhudurg district in the coastal Konkan region, Rane had accused the party of reneging on the promise of making him the chief minister of Maharashtra when he joined it 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena.

The Maratha leader, who was the chief minister of Maharashtra in 1999 while he was in the Shiv Sena, said he had also resigned as a member of the state Legislative Council. “I have not yet decided where to go,” he had said, referring to the speculations about his joining the BJP, and added that he would make an announcement before Dussehra, which will be observed on 30 September this year.

The former firebrand Sena leader had joined the Congress in 2005. Speculations about Rane joining the BJP were triggered by reports suggesting he had met Shah in Ahmedabad a few months ago.

During the recent Ganesh festival, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, also from the BJP, had paid a visit to Rane at the latter’s residence. Rane, who enjoys pockets of influence in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, was expelled from the Sena by then party supremo Bal Thackeray for voicing displeasure over the latter’s son, Uddhav, gaining prominence in the party.

A tough-talking leader, Rane, who was handpicked by Thackeray as the chief minister when he decided to remove Manohar Joshi ahead of the 1999 Maharashtra Assembly polls, had recently claimed that he had received an offer from the Sena to return to its fold. The recent threat by the Sena to pull out of the BJP-led coalition governments in the state and at the Centre is being seen in the political circles as an attempt to thwart Rane’s entry into the saffron party.

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