Don't induct Narayan Rane: Shiv Sena to BJP

Reminds alliance partner of graft case against former Congress leader.

Mumbai: Shiv Sena leader and minister of state (MoS) for home Deepak Kesarkar attacked senior leader of Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh Narayan Rane in the backdrop of reports of a cabinet reshuffle in the state. “Mr Rane is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate. Therefore, his induction in the cabinet is unlikely as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can’t indulge in doublespeak over the issue of corruption,” said Mr Kesarkar. None of the BJP leaders has spoken about the alleged ED’s probe into disproportionate assets case against Mr Rane. Mr Kesarkar’s remarks on the probe are seen as pressure tactics by the Shiv Sena to keep Mr Rane out of the state cabinet.

Mr Kesarkar and Mr Rane hail from Sindhudurg in Konkan. Mr Kesarkar is a strong opponent of Mr Rane and also the guardian minister of Sindhudurg. On Thursday, Mr Kesarkar claimed that ED is allegedly probing Mr Rane. “I don’t’ think the BJP and chief minister Devendra Fadnavisji would invite Mr Rane to join our state government. He is under the scanner of the ED,” said Mr Kesarkar. Despite repeated attempts, Mr Rane could not be reached for his response on Mr Kesarkar’s remarks.

Earlier, there were reports that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has conveyed a message to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis via his personal assistant Milind Narvekar, opposing Mr Rane’s entry in the state cabinet.

Mr Rane was in Sena before joining the Congress and does not share a good relationship with Mr Thackeray. But CM Fadnavis has ignored the message, saying that, “My days are not so bad that I would listen to a message delivered by one PA.” This was an indication by CM Fadnavis that he would not budge to Sena’s pressure tactics.

Earlier this week, Mr Rane’s son and Congress MLA Nitesh Rane had met CM Fadnavis. Afterwards, he has slammed the Shiv Sena, saying that it must not interfere in his father’s political moves. “Who is Mr Thackeray to poke his nose in Rane saheb’s politics? We don’t pay attention to such childish politics,” Mr Nitesh had said after meeting Mr Fadnavis.

Speaking in the backdrop of Nitesh Rane’s jibe, Mr Kesarkar’s raked up the ED probe against Narayan Rane. Political observers believe that this is another tactic by the Shiv Sena to pressurise the BJP to keep Mr Rane out of the state cabinet.

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