Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new team on Wednesday as minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, strengthening the BJP’s foothold in the Konkan region.
Born in April 1952, Rane started his political career while he was in his twenties. His initiation into politics took place as a member of the Shiv Sena when he became a local Shakha Pramukh at Chembur, Mumbai.
Appointed chief minister by Balasaheb Thackeray in 1999, when then CM Manohar Joshi was asked to step down from the post, Rane was expelled from the Shiv Sena in 2005 on account of anti-party activities. He later joined the Congress and was immediately made revenue minister of the state.
Post the 2008 Mumbai attack, Vilasrao Deshmukh stepped down and Ashok Chavan was made chief minister. This agitated Rane, who claimed he was promised the CM post by the Congress high command. Rane protested against the party high command, which led to his suspension. However, after he apologised, his suspension was revoked.
Rane contested the 2014 election from Konkan on Congress’s ticket, which he lost. Congress again gave him a ticket to contest the bypoll election for the legislative assembly seat of Bandra East constituency but Rane lost this election to the Shiv Sena candidate. Later, in 2017, Narayan Rane with his sons Nitesh and Nilesh floated his own party ‘Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha’, and openly announced that they will support the BJP in the state.
In 2019, BJP gave a ticket to Rane’s son Nitesh from Konkan. Later, Narayan Rane got the Rajya Sabha seat from BJP’s quota.
Rane is known as a ‘Sena baiter’ and played an instrumental role in the preparation of the report on Maratha reservation. The issue has since picked up pace in the Maharashtra’s political circles. Rane’s elevation could also help the BJP’s chances in the BMC elections next year.
Apart from having a long drawn career in politics, Rane is also the owner and the consulting editor of Marathi language newspaper Prahaar.