Rane also said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had not moved on issues about state congress that he had raised.
Mumbai: Political circles in the state were abuzz with rumours that senior Congress leader Narayan Rane would switch to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after he reportedly met BJP national president Amit Shah in Ahmedabad. Though Mr Rane denied that any such meeting took place, visuals of person resembling him sitting in chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ car appeared on Marathi news channels, further fuelling speculations.
Mr Rane is said to have been in contact with BJP leaders for some time now. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, state revenue minister and senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) man Chandrakant Patil are lobbying for his induction into the party.
On Wednesday night, Mr Rane was reportedly seen with his son, Congress MLA Nitesh Rane, in Mr Fadnavis’s car outside Mr Shah’s residence in Ahmedabad. The Rane duo returned to Mumbai on Thursday morning, but denied having meet Mr Shah. Similarly, Mr Fadnavis also denied taking Mr Rane meet Mr Shah. The chief minister said, “Mr Rane didn’t meet Amitji in Ahmedabad.” However, visuals appeared on news channels later allegedly showing the Rane duo in the car with Mr Fadnavis.
In Mumbai, Mr Rane said that the BJP had approached him a long time ago. “The market demands good products. It’s the same in politics. But I have not decided on the BJP’s offer. I have neither rejected nor accepted it yet,” said the senior leader.
Mr Rane also said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had not moved on issues about state congress that he had raised.
Meanwhile, Congress state president Ashok Chavan has declined to comment on the matter. “Officially, Mr Rane has denied leaving Congress. So there’s no need for me to comment,” said Mr Chavan.
Mr Rane — after talking to media in Mumbai — left for his home district Sindhudurg where he is likely to address his workers, which could be indicative of his next move.