29 April 2017 | Last updated 11:47 PM

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Gaffe imperils Rane’s Union Cabinet hopes
- | Thursday, 13 April 2017 AT 11:40 PM IST
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PUNE: Firebrand Congress leader Narayan Rane, whom the BJP has been pursuing since a few months to cross over to their side, had asked the BJP to give him a berth in the Union cabinet, highly placed sources in the BJP have revealed exclusively to Sakal Times.

Rane has had several rounds of talks with BJP leaders, first in Maharashtra and then in Delhi, over the possibility of his joining the BJP. On Wednesday, Rane had a discussion with BJP President Amit Shah in Ahmedabad about the prospect of his joining the BJP. But this meeting getting leaked to media has put Rane on the defensive as the negotiations were exposed to the public before a deal could be sealed.

Rane’s exit from the Congress would be seen as a big tectonic shift in Maharashtra’s politics, but it has not been decided whether he will really cross over to the BJP, as the final negotiations are still on. The leaked information and visuals of Rane visiting Shah’s residence in Ahmedabad with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have put Rane on the defensive and this may hurt his negotiation power with the BJP leadership.

“Rane in all his negotiations has insisted that he has to be given a Cabinet ministry. The BJP expects him to build the party in Konkan region, where there has been minimal BJP presence. Considering Rane’s seniority and his foothold in Mumbai city politics, the BJP may consider giving him something of his choice, but the negotiations are still on and no final decision has been taken yet,” sources in the BJP privy to the developments told Sakal Times.

However, sources close to Rane said that he still continues to insist that he wants a Cabinet berth in the Centre if the BJP wants him to join them. But now, with the information in the public domain, Rane cannot negotiate hard with the BJP, neither can he expect anything from the Congress even if he stays with the party.  

It is obvious that Rane will not want to work in the State government under Devendra Fadnavis, who is much too junior to him. It is also very clear that Rane has to be given some portfolio and a ministry if he has to leave the Congress.

Sources say Rane had assured the BJP leadership that he will have no other conditions before he joins the party if he is given a ministry.

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