Suspended Congress leader Narayan Rane on Saturday claimed that he holds the key to the survival of the soon-to-be-formed Ashok Chavan led Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government in Maharashtra.
"If I wish, I can prevent the new government from taking charge or topple it when it is formed. The new government is not in a majority and I can prove it on the floor of the House, even if the opposition does not demand a trust vote," Rane, who was suspended for his latest utterances against the party after he lost in the chief ministerial race, told a press conference in Mumbai.
Rane refused to divulge his future course of action when the winter session of the legislature would be convened in Nagpur this month.
"I will be going to Nagpur," he said.
He said he could provide a letter of 30 MLAs to the Governor, saying that they were not supporting the new government.
"I am refraining from doing this because the prevailing situation in the aftermath of terror attacks in Mumbai is not right. I warn the Congress not to provoke me to take such a step," he added.
Referring to his suspension from the Congress, Rane said he had been expecting the action.
"I consider this as a good omen. In 1997, Vilasrao Deshmukh was suspended from the party for six years and in 1999 he became the chief minister," Rane added.
Rane alleged that Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel and Deshmukh, aided by some industrialists, prevented him from becoming the chief minister.
"I had opposed several decisions that Deshmukh had made regarding land dealings of CIDCO, MHADA, MIDC, Wakf Board and these people feared that I will expose them if I become the chief minister," he said.
Rane said 48 MLAs had supported him for chief ministership. Ashok Chavan had the backing of 32, nine supported Patangrao Kadam and four Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, he
"However, Ahmed Patel and Vilasrao Deshmukh prevented A K Antony and Pranab Mukherji from announcing the decision," he added.
Hitting back at the outgoing chief minister, he alleged that Deshmukh had pushed Maharashtra 20 years behind while himself becoming 'No 1' in terms of personal wealth.
Rane alleged that Deshmukh had not tabled a CAG (commercial) report in the legislature during the budget session this year because it contained adverse remarks against him and making the report public could have cost him his chair.
He said the CAG report revealed that Latur MIDC land was given to Vilasrao Deshmukh Foundation at cheap rates resulting in a loss of Rs 1.19 crore to the government.
Rane said he had spoken to All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi on Friday afternoon, but refused to divulge what transpired between them.
"I have not spoken anything against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and any other leader except Ahmed Patel. I hold Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony in high esteem. The Congress has survived because of the good deeds of such leaders," he added.