Stakes are high for senior Congress leader Narayan Rane, who is facing a resurgent Shiv Sena on his home turf in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district, where he is contesting the Assembly polls along with his son Nitesh.
Rane’s elder son Nilesh had lost the Lok Sabha election from Konkan’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat in May this year and his close associates Ganpat Kadam, Subhash Bane, Rajan Teli and Ravindra Phatak have all deserted him to join Sena or BJP.
Differences with Rane have led former Minister of State for Urban Development and NCP legislator Uday Samant into Shiv Sena, who is their candidate from Ratnagiri seat.
Rane, whose chief ministerial ambitions are no secret, is seeking re-election from Kudal Assembly seat in Sindhudurg district which also comprises of Kankavli and Sawantwadi Assembly constituencies.
Rane’s younger son Nitesh, who runs NGO Swabhiman and is not a primary member of the Congress, is contesting from Kankavli, which has caused some huffiness among local Congress workers, but there is no open protest against his nomination.
Observers here admit that the prestige of Rane, who is Congress’ campaign committee chief, is at stake in the polls.
“Though both father and son may scrape through, the multi-cornered contest makes the poll results anybody’s guess,” they say.
Shiv Sena’s Kudal candidate Vaibhav Naik, who had unsuccessfully contested against Rane in 2009, says things have changed since the last Assembly polls.