Mumbai: After former chief minister Narayan Rane quit the Congress, there is suspense whether the heavyweight leader will join the BJP or form his own party. Another question is whether the BJP needs him, which the BJP itself is not sure. Since the BJP is the strongest party in the State and the country, it does not need Rane as much as Rane needs it. The chances of BJP inducting Rane are less. The BJP is likely to use Rane to grow in the Konkan without taking him into the party.
In the last three years, the BJP realised they could not make a strong bastion in Konkan as Shiv Sena has roots there and Konkan is Rane’s stronghold. “If we cannot enter the region or are not getting support from it, then use small political outfits to cut the wings of others,” seems to be the BJP’s strategy.
There are some similarities concerning political developments involving Rane and Sadabhau Khot.
The dispute between Raju Shetti and Khot of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) worked in favour of the BJP. Khot was a minister of state and was expelled from the party by Shetti.
Rane and Khot are sailing in the same boat, but the party and region are different. Coincidentally, Rane quit the Congress on Thursday, the same day Khot announced his own political outfit.
Khot will be of use to the BJP in Satara, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur districts of western Maharashtra, where NCP, Congress and the SSS are strong. Khot and his new organisation will work for all sections of society as he has announced. But he will use it to weaken the political parties and Shetti’s stronghold in Kolhapur.
The BJP is not sure whether Rane will be beneficial to the party. Though Rane is one of the strong leaders of Konkan, except for the three seats of Sindhudurg district, he seems to be losing ground in the region. Admission of Rane’s sons, Nitesh and Nilesh, is also a big question in front of the party. However, the BJP leaders are aware that Rane can weaken Shiv Sena in its stronghold.
Most probably Rane will form a new party that will function parallel to the BJP and contest the next election in alliance with the BJP. He claimed that many disgruntled Congress and Sena workers want to join him.
So, Rane’s new party may work as ‘Team B’ for the BJP. This will directly benefit the BJP because Rane will put a dent in the vote banks of the Congress and the Shiv Sena. Rane is going on a 10-day tour of Maharashtra to explore the possibility of the new party.