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Narayan Rane the party hopper

Narayan Rane is one big name in Maharashtra politics, he is known for trying every political party in the greed of power. Before entering politics with the Shiv Sena, he was part of the ‘Harya-Narya’ gang, a street gang operating in Mumbai’s north-eastern suburb of Chembur. Rane was handpicked by Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray as chief minister when he decided to remove the genial Manohar Joshi ahead of the 1999 Assembly elections. And though in ousting Joshi, Thackeray might have played straight into the hands of the BJP, Rane suits both Thackeray and the BJP. Joshi and his son are under ED scanner in money laundering scam of Kohinoor. Joshi was a misfit in the Sena. His wit and sophistication set him apart in a party generally not known to back intellectuals. For example, the initial idea to deny the Shiv Sena’s involvement in the attack on the offices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was Joshi’s. He thought this would help him survive the remainder of his term in office. But when the Sena itself made no bones about the attack, making his denials meaningless, he had the Shiv Sainiks involved in the attack arrested.

Once a blue eyed boy of Balasaheb, Rane had joined the Congress in 2005 after being expelled from the Shiv Sena. Rane was expelled by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray after he voiced displeasure over Uddhav Thackeray gaining prominence in the party. In his political career spanning nearly four decades, Rane had worked in the Shiv Sena and then in Congress before floating his own political outfit in 2017. The 65-year-old aggressive leader launched his own party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha.

From then to now, Rane’s journey in politics—from being a corporator, leader of the opposition, briefly CM and a cabinet minister for the Sena and the Congress, to recently forming his own party—has been peppered with allegations of criminal wrongdoings against him and his sons. Rane was combating allegations of money laundering by BJP former MP Kirit Somaiya. While Rane was with the Congress, Somaiya had written to Satyabrata Kumar, joint director of the Enforcement Directorate, seeking an investigation into companies run by Rane and his family. Soon after Rane’s inclusion in BJP, the allegations are gone to cold storage. Concerned that the ED probe may be wound up with Rane now having aligned with the NDA, a Mumbai-based activist, Ketan Tirodkar, has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court asking that the ED be directed to file a status report of the inquiries conducted so far. The petition also asks the court to direct the agency to file the final report in the trial court concerned in reasonable time.

Rane, has pockets of influence in the Konkan region of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra government has already welcomed party hopper Narayan Rane. BJP playing it brilliant, Narayan Rane the old timer of Sena is entertained in BJP but so far no confirmation is given to him. Narayan Rane has had a tumultuous political journey, starting from his early days as a small-time gangster to briefly becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra, switching political sides and now he is leaving the NDA.

Rane’s exit from the Congress caused some dent in the party at a time when it is struggling in Maharashtra. Congress faced a virtual washout in Maharashtra and was able to win only one seat.

In the 60s, Rane was a member of the Harya-Narya gang, which was active in Chembur in Mumbai. According to police records, another gangster, Mahadev Thakur, for invading his territory in the late ‘60s, beat Narya, who began operations at the age of 14, to pulp. Men like Rane have their uses on the streets, not in the CM’s chair.  To which, Rane’s supporters, surprised at the developments to say the least, retort, ‘He is a man from their street. And it does wonder them all that even a street urchin can aspire to the highest office in the state.’

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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