Industries Minister Narayan Rane on Monday swung into a damage control exercise,arguing that his son Nitesh (Rane) did not make any adverse comment against Gujarati community on microblogging site Twitter. Nitesh,who heads Swabhiman Sanghatana,an NGO,created a flutter after his tweet indicated that those proud of Modi and Gujarat should migrate to that state instead of staying on in Maharashtra.
Rane also made a scathing attack against Home Minister R R Patil who had ordered a probe against Nitesh for making the community-specific comment,saying: There are larger law and order problems in Maharashtra. The home minister should focus on bigger issues and not hound my son for a comment that was distorted by the media.
Ranes decision to speak on the issue,however,points to the fact that he was worried about the ramifications.
What Nitesh meant was that those people who are always praising Gujarat and Chief Minister Narendra Modi should go and settle in the that state. What are they speaking for Modi when Maharashtra is way ahead in development in key sectors, he explained.
Rane added,The comment on Twitter was not community specific. It was posted on June 20. Why is it being circulated now? It shows there are some people who are playing mischief.
He asserted: My relations with the Gujarati community has always been excellent. We have never indulged in such community politics. And what Nitesh said was misunderstood and distorted.
The MPCC has,however,distanced itself from Rane juniors remark,refusing to join the debate. A senior MPCC general secretary said: It is between the father and the son. Let the AICC take a note of the developments. We have nothing to speak… The Congress never believes in targeting any community.
Rane also attacked the BJP leadership for making adverse reactions to his sons comment. Reacting to Niteshs comment,state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis had said: It showed Ranes have decided to pull the Congress down. He is proving to be a liability.
Rane retorted: Let me make it clear that I am not a liability in Congress. And moreover,I dont have to take lessons from Fadnavis on politics.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde said: If someone is praising Gujarat and Modi,it does not mean he/she becomes anti-Maharashtra.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said,We understand Nitesh Ranes leader is AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi. So he would have surely spoken things which are in accordance to the party line. And if Nitesh feels we should leave Maharashtra,we would like them to move to Italy,which is the home of Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP leader added that the fact that Rane senior came out with an explanation showed there was something wrong with what Nitesh had done. It is a classic case of father undoing what son has done, added Bhandari.
On the other hand,Rane asked the BJP to explain what they thought of their MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha who had demanded south Mumbai should be declared vegetarian zone,or of former general secretary Kirit Somaiyya who had demanded that Marathi should not be made compulsory in schools.
The BJP leader dismissed these as individual demands,saying they had never supported such demands.