Mumbai: BJP Rajya Sabha member and the strong critic of Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government Narayan Rane is set to join the Narendra Modi-led council of ministers at the Centre. Rane has been quite vocal against the government led by Uddhav Thackeray and he was at the forefront to demand the imposition of the President Rule in the state for the government's handling of the ongoing pandemic. Rane’s elevation will be crucial for BJP to checkmate Shiv Sena in its traditional bastion the Konkan Region and thereby consolidate its position. Rane is likely to be made the minister of heavy industries which was earlier held by Shiv Sena leaders including Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil, Anant Geete and Arvind Sawant.
Rane has come a long way from a street smart leader to a hardcore Shivsainik who was Shiv Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray’s close confidant. He became chief minister though for a short stint due to Thackeray’s blessings. As a leader of opposition during the Congress-NCP government, Rane emerged as a leader who can speak confidently and convincingly not just on politics to corner the government but on economic and financial issues. Rane deployed retired government officers and financial experts to literally make him graduate himself in the financial and economic matters as his speeches delivered after the annual budgets were still used as reference by many.
However, following differences with Uddhav, he chose to leave Shiv Sena in 2005 to join Congress party which had assured him the CM’s post. Although Congress failed to keep its promise, Rane worked as the minister in the Congress-NCP government and he led the committee to submit a comprehensive report recommending quota to the Maratha and Muslim communities ahead of 2014 assembly elections.
After he lost the 2014 assembly elections from his stronghold in Sindhudurg district, he failed to digest his defeat. Thereafter, Rane left Congress in 2017 and floated his own outfit Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha and became the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally. He subsequently in 2018 became the Rajya Sabha member on BJP’s nomination.