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Rane claims more Sena MPs, MLAs to join Congress
November 25, 2005 03:47 IST
Fresh from his victory in Malvan, Maharashtra minister Narayan Rane claimed on Thursday that six Shiv Sena members and 10 legislators in the state were in touch with Congress for joining the party.
Rane, who caused a major setback to Shiv Sena in its stronghold of Konkan by winning Malvan seat by a huge margin, was talking to reporters after meeting party chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.
Rane, who till early 2005 was the leader of the opposition and a prominent Shiv Sena leader, took a dig at Sena chief Bal Thackeray, saying "his presence in Malvan for campaigning increased my vote share by 10 to 15 per cent and their candidate had to forfeit his deposit."
Once a blue-eyed boy of Thackeray, Rane claimed Shiv Sena supremo was doing a "fine job" of winding up the organisation which is fast on the wane. Replying to a question, Rane made it clear that the party has not promised ministership to any of 10 legislators who are keen to join Congress. Rane said Sonia was happy with his victory and has assured him to visit Konkan in February.
Rane said three Sena MLAs owing allegiance to him, who quit the Sena, would contest the bypolls as and when announced by the Election Commission. About the seven Sena MLAs, he said "a decision about their quitting the Sena would be taken at an appropriate time." Asked whether these seven would face any problems in getting re-elected as NCP was the party on second position in the previous assembly polls, Rane merely said "everything would be sorted out." On Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray's reported remarks that "Sena has lost polls and not hope," the minister quipped "what else can he say.
He cannot quit the post of his party as it has now become a private limited company." Meanwhile, Priya Dutt, who won the bypoll for the Mumbai North-West Lok Sabha constituency by a margin of over 1,74,000 votes, also met Gandhi. Dutt said she would strive to fulfill her father and late Union Minister Sunil Dutt's dream of developing the constituency. State Congress chief Prabha Rau said she briefed the party President on the electorol victories in Malvan and Mumbai North-West bypolls. Rane also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.