Contesting an election to remain relevant in Maharashtra politics has forced former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane to curb his instinct. He has so far shied away from a direct outburst against Shiv Sena president and bete noire Uddhav Thackeray in his campaign for winning the bypolls for Bandra (East) assembly seat.The restraint was visible again on Thursday when Rane campaigned in Kalanagar, where the Thackeray residence Matoshree is located.
“I’m contesting this poll on the development plank. People in the constituency want development. They have cleanliness. They have been deprived of these all along. People would not be swayed by religious planks this time,” said Rane.
Even as his cavalcade passed through Matoshri, Rane said that he hadn’t come to Kalanagar to target anyone. “I have come to meet people, understand their needs and grievances,” he said.
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No caustic comments were made against the Thackeray clan, which is uncharacteristic of the high pitch election battles we have seen between Rane and Shiv Sena, ever since the former quit the party and joined Congress in 2005.
A Congress insider said that the former CM has been advised by his campaign managers to keep his election campaign low key and constituency centric. He does not want to convert this election into another Narayan Rane versus Uddhav Thackeray affair, as his camp feels that this would work to the latter’s advantage.
The Shiv Sena has fielded former MLA Prakash Sawant’s wife Trupti against Rane. The bypolls was necessitated following Sawant’s death. The Congress camp feels that Rane is a stronger candidate on meritorious grounds, and wants to keep it that way.
The constituency has a sizeable population of Marathi speaking voters who hail from the Konkan belt.