Union minister Narayan Rane has sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s independence. An FIR was registered in the matter against Rane under sections 153 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A team of police from Nashik has left for Chiplun in Konkan where Rane is staying at present, following an FIR registered against him, sources say. There is no word yet from the police on these developments. Rane may be arrested for the remarks against the chief minister.
“It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given him a tight slap,” Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in adjoining District Raigad yesterday.
The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his 15 August address to the people of the state. Thackeray had to check the year of independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said.
Rane’s remarks drew sharp reactions from Shiv Sena, whose workers put several posters in Mumbai and other places, calling him a ‘kombdi chor’ (chicken stealer), a reference to the poultry shop he ran in Chembur five decades ago, during his initial stint with the Bal Thackeray-led party.
In response, Shiv Sena’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP Vinayak Raut said Rane has lost his mental balance. “To impress BJP leadership, Rane has been attacking Shiv Sena and its leaders. He lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi-led ministry. Modi should show him the door,” Raut said.
After quitting Shiv Sena, Narayan Rane joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and was made state revenue minister. He quit the Congress in 2017, saying he had joined it on assurance of being put in the state’s top position in six months. Rane flagged off his political life in Mumbai with the son-of-the-soil party led by Bal Thackeray in the late 1960s.
He entered the Maharashtra Assembly in 1990 as a Shiv Sena MLA, and was sworn in as Maharashtra’s 13th chief minister in February 1999. That stint was short as the then Shiv Sena-BJP combine lost the state Assembly elections held later that year.
After parting ways with Shiv Sena following irreconcilable differences with the Thackerays, he founded the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha with his two sons Nilesh and Nitesh as his key generals but later merged it with the BJP.