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BJP wants to use firebrand Narayan Rane against Sena in Maha
Rohit Chandavarkar | Thursday, 13 April 2017 AT 11:43 PM IST
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How much fire is left in senior politician Narayan Rane? Is Rane a spent force? Can Rane revive himself and his political outfit? Why is the BJP pursuing Rane? Will the BJP really benefit in Maharashtra if Rane joins that party? These are the questions many are asking as media creams over the exposure of Congress leader Rane’s supposedly secret meeting with BJP National President Amit Shah in Ahmedabad on Wednesday night. All answers to these questions are not known but as someone who has seen Rane from close quarters for over two decades, one can throw some light on what is unfolding right now.

Narayan Rane was basically a Shiv Sena leader who rose in ranks in the municipal corporation politics in Mumbai in the 1980s and 1990s. His first big break was when he became the BEST committee chairman in the late 1980s, where he impressed Sena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray and then rose further to eventually replace Sena CM Manohar Joshi to become Maharashtra’s Chief Minister in late 1990s for a short period. Later as Sena was pushed into opposition space, Rane got restless as he could not get along with the next generation of Sena leadership and decided to cross over to the Congress party to become a minister in Maharashtra.

So Rane is a firebrand Shiv Sainik at heart who finds himself suffocating in the Congress party where he has no space to grow or hold any position of power.

The BJP, which is grappling currently with a certain level of human resource crunch and is seen importing leaders from Nationalist Congress Party and many other parties, feels that Rane can be a good weapon which can be used in the fight in the future against the Shiv Sena.

It is not surprising that many senior BJP leaders including State Minister Chandrakant Patil and Mumbai BJP Chief Ashish Shelar have been heard saying that Rane is a respectable leader and he is a politician that any party would want to have in their cadre! So its very obvious that both sides (Rane and BJP) are open to Rane’s entry into the BJP. Rane knows the Sena inside out and BJP thinks he can be used very effectively to keep Sena at bay.

However, the BJP does not want Rane to be too heavyweight a leader in their structure. BJP does not want to disturb its hierarchy and give Rane too much importance. So the negotiations are being delayed and extended.

However, Rane’s clout in his own turf of Konkan region is on the decline. Rane lost the last assembly election in his own bastion and continues to slide in popularity since the 2014 elections.

The latest twist in all this is the leak that has happened on Wednesday. The information being leaked to media about Rane’s meeting in Ahmedabad has put Narayan Rane on the defensive. Rane denies that he met Shah but the visuals running on TV prove otherwise. In all this Rane now stands to be the loser.

WHY IS THE BJP PURSUING RANE?
Rane knows the Sena inside out and BJP thinks he can be used very effectively to keep Sena at bay. However, the BJP does not want Rane to be too heavyweight a leader in their structure. BJP does not want to disturb its hierarchy and give Rane too much importance. Rane’s clout in his own turf of Konkan region is on the decline. Rane lost the last assembly election in his own bastion and continues to slide in popularity since the 2014 elections. And the latest twist in all this is the leak that has happened on Wednesday...

- Rohit chandavarkar
 
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