Narayan Rane launches new party, indicates willingness to align with NDA
Mumbai: Former Congress leader and Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane on Sunday announced formation of a new political party named Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksh, which he indicated might join the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if invited.
Rane, who started his political career with the Shiv Sena, quit the Congress party in September. Rane told a press conference in Mumbai that the new political party would soon be registered.
“The decision whether to join the NDA would be taken after the new party is registered and if we are invited to join,” Rane said. Rane’s son Nitesh, who is a Congress party legislator, stayed away from the press conference.
Nitesh Rane, legislator from Kudal in Konkan, runs a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Swabhimani Sanghatana.
A senior BJP leader, who did not want to be named, said launching a new political party was the only option left for Rane as BJP’s top leadership had “not entertained Rane’s wish to join the BJP”. “One has to look at Rane’s plans in a context. He has quit the Congress party and he cannot join Shiv Sena which he left years back. He wanted to join the BJP but we are not comfortable inducting Rane yet. He has to work out some kind of a refuge for himself,” he said.
Another BJP leader, who is familiar with Rane’s politics and who did not want to be identified, said the alternative to launch a new political party was in fact suggested to Rane by senior BJP officials themselves. “Rane met our party president Amit Shah in Delhi some days back and it was suggested to him that the BJP rank and file in Maharashtra were not really ready to induct him and that he should look for some option that would still make him open to joining the NDA,” said this BJP leader.
Rane gave all indications that he was open to business with BJP and NDA. He refused to get drawn into issues wherein he would have to take a critical position vis-a-vis the Modi government. He attacked Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for criticising demonetization at the Sena’s Dussehra rally on Saturday.
“Uddhav Thackeray has no business attacking demonetisation because his party has never taken a clear position on this issue. You cannot go on having different positions at different times,” Rane said. He also claimed that Shiv Sena cadres were actually leaving the venue when Thackeray was speaking indicating that they were not happy with the party strategy.