Ex-CM Narayan Rane, son Nilesh quit Congress
Sindhudurg (Maharashtra): The Maharashtra Congress received a strong jolt when senior leader and former Chief Minister Narayan T. Rane and his son Nilesh, an ex-MP, quit the party here on Thursday.
"I have sent my resignation letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi. I was promised the post of CM four times, but it was not honoured by the party," Rane told a jampacked media conference here in the afternoon. He also quit as Member of Legislative Council.
He claimed he was "used and exploited" by the Congress for 12 years since he joined in July 2005, to secure the support of his loyalist legislators and party activists and his political experience.
Amid speculation that he is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rane said he would embark on a tour of Maharashtra from tomorrow (Friday) before announcing the next course of action by Dussehra.
He also launched a scathing attack on state Congress President Ashok Chavan whom he has always accused of "destroying the party" in Maharashtra.
"I shall prove my strength to Ashok Chavan. I will show him whether the people are with him or with me... Many more Congress leaders shall follow suit. My son Nilesh and I have now become 'Congress-mukt' and have nothing to do with the party," declared Rane.
He warned that the state Congress and Shiv Sena will soon become "vacant" as many leaders, including 27 Shiv Sena legislators, are "in touch" with him, and are ready to quit their respective parties.
The 65-year old strongman from the Konkan declared that he never hankered for any post, but "posts came to me" and he had no regrets of any kind.
Accusing the Congress of "duping" him on several occasions, Rane said senior Congressman Ahmed Patel had assured him that he would be made the Chief Minister in six months, but nothing happened for years.
"Even Madam (Sonia Gandhi) told me twice that we shall make you CM, but it was never fulfilled. When Rahul Gandhi made me MLC without my asking, Chavan was in New Delhi till the last day opposing my name," Rane alleged.
He revealed that in 2009, 40 Congress legislators had voted for him as Congress Legislature Party leader while only 32 opted for Chavan, but Rane was denied the post on grounds that 48 legislators had chosen Chavan.
Later, the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan asked him to select any post, but deprived him of the Revenue Ministry and made him Industry Minister, he added.
"What... you are going to expel me from the party? I am quitting on my own," Rane declared.
Reacting to the development, Chavan said: "I wish him all the best in his future endeavours."
Congress MP Hussain Dalwai expressed regrets saying Rane was taking a "hasty decision" and should have waited for some time.
Rane was the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance Chief Minister for a year (in 1999) when it ruled the state between 1995 and 1999.
In recent months, Rane has met BJP President Amit Shah and even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on a couple of occasions in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, leading to speculation of his imminent exit from the Congress.
Though the BJP added fuel to the speculation by announcing it would welcome Rane with open arms, Rane had dismissed it outright as rumours.