Congress leader Narayan Rane on Thursday made a veiled attack on his party alleging that there was no wholehearted support from the party machinery at the Bandra (East) bypoll, barely a day after the results were declared.
The editorial in Prahar – Rane’s mouthpiece – flashed a headline “Rane won, Congress lost”.
Rane who wrote the editorial conveyed his strong sense of disappointment with the functioning of the party in Maharashtra.
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He wrote that he consented to be a candidate as the party did not have a face to counter the Shiv Sena in the constituency and stressed on the fact that he got 33,703, votes taking the tally for the party from 12,000 votes during the previous poll.
The edit said, “Although Congress leaders were seen moving along with Rane during the campaign, their presence was just in body and not mind.”
Further alleging how Congress leaders plotted against Rane “as they felt threatened by his victory in state Congress”, it added, “Some leaders came for campaign, some didn’t even make their presence felt. Even those who came participated during the day. At night they engaged in anti-Rane activities.”
Rane’s younger son Nitesh was more candid in stating how his father was badly let down by the party. He said, “Despite all odds Rane took the gamble to contesting the Bandra (East) seat. But Congress leaders from Mumbai and Maharashtra did not work for him wholeheartedly.”
He went on to say that the Mumbai Congress has almost become defunct.
“Rane gave a very tough fight making Shiv Sena run from pillar to post. His decision to contest in backyards of Matoshree the residence of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was a bold move. And what ever was achieved was because of his own merit,” said Nitesh.
The by-elections for Bandra (East) saw the victory of Shiv Sena candidate Trupti Sawant who polled 52,711 votes. Rane polled 33,703 votes. The Rehbar Khan of AIMIM polled 15,050 votes.
Senior Congress leaders refused to comment on Rane’s disappointment against the organisation. The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan maintained, “Rane gave a tough fight. Now a couple of defeats should not undermine anybody’s political career.”
He added, “The Congress leaders stood with Rane. We expected his victory. But low voting and AIMIM in the fray worked against the Congress.”
Notwithstanding the public posturing Rane’s disappointment against Congress has caused major embarrassment to the party. It is no secret that MPCC chief Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam did not get along with Rane. Their appointment to the coveted posts last month had invited sharp criticism from Rane.