Mumbai: The Congress has rubbished the speculation that former chief minister Narayan Rane was planning to return to the party fold ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The speculation had started following a statement attributed to senior leader Balasaheb Thorat, who said that Mr Rane is likely to return to the Congress.
During a campaign in Nevasa, Mr Thorat said that several leaders who left the Congress now say that they are on their way back, and are looking forward to a Prime Minister and Maharashtra chief minister from Congress in the next elections. “Mr Rane was previously in the Congress. But don’t think he is feeling any good in BJP now,” he had said.
However, the state Congress president Ashok Chavan, who is in Sindhudurg for the last phase of party’s ‘Jan Sampark Abhiyan’, told that Mr Thorat has denied the statement attributed to him. “Mr Thorat spoke to me and categorically denied what is being attributed to him. There is no talk of re-inducting Narayan Rane into the party,” Mr Chavan asserted.
When contacted, Mr Rane, who quit the Congress in September 2017 to form his own outfit and ally with the BJP, himself denied any possibility of going back to the Congress. “There is no truth in the speculation. I am not in touch with any Congress leader,” he said.
The former Shiv Sena chief minister, who had joined the Congress in 2005, is currently a Rajya Sabha member on BJP ticket and also a member of the BJP manifesto committee.