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BJP Sidelines Narayan Rane for Maharashtra Legislative Council Bypoll Despite His Assurance of Victory

The bypoll is being held for the seat vacated by Rane who quit the Congress party in September.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:November 27, 2017, 8:42 PM IST
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BJP Sidelines Narayan Rane for Maharashtra Legislative Council Bypoll Despite His Assurance of Victory
On October 1 this year Rane formed a new political party called Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, saying he would support the BJP-led NDA. (File image)
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Mumbai: The BJP on Monday announced its Maharashtra unit vice-president Prasad Lad as its candidate for the Legislative Council bypoll slated for December 7, and ended speculation that it may field former chief minister Narayan Rane.

"I was confident of my victory in these by-elections. I told them (BJP), I will easily get above 155 votes... but they didn't want to take that risk," Narayan Rane told News 18 after BJP did not name him as their candidate.

The bypoll is being held for the seat vacated by Rane who quit the Congress party in September. On October 1 this year Rane formed a new political party called Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, saying he would support the BJP-led NDA. Last month, he said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had invited him to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

On Sunday, Rane called upon NCP chief Sharad Pawar to seek advice from him. "I wanted to seek some advice from Pawar. Since we have personal relations, I called him," Rane said.

He claimed the fact that all three parties, including Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, would have united against him, showed how powerful he was. "Does this not show my strength?" he asked. In a late night development, Rane met the Maharashtra CM as well.

When asked about the details of the discussion between him and CM Fadnavis, he said, "The CM told me that BJP did not want to take risk at a time when the Gujarat polls were round the corner. Even one defeat at such a time is demoralising. As all three parties would have probably united if I would have been given the candidature. BJP did not feel like taking the step. I told him that though I am confident of winning, I agree with you."

When asked if it disappointed him, he said, "Had I been in Devendra's palce, I would have taken the same decision. What difference does it make if I am inducted in the cabinet after a fortnight? But why show desperation? They (BJP) have delayed this till now. But I trust them," he said.

The winner will need votes of at least 145 MLAs in the 288-member Lower House.

In the Assembly, the BJP has 122 members, followed by Shiv Sena (63), Congress (42), and NCP (41).

Fadnavis had recently said Rane would be made a cabinet minister from the BJP quota. The cabinet expansion now looks unlikely before the winter session of state legislature, beginning in Nagpur on December 11.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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