Support Marathi cause, but not MNS’ method: Rane

November 16th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayNew Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Maharashtra Revenue Minister and former chief minister Narayan Rane says that while he favours preferential treatment for Maharashtrians in the state, he does not support Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s “methods”.”Just because I support the ‘Marathi manoos’, doesn’t mean I support Raj Thackeray and his methods (of targetting north Indians in Maharashtra),” said Rane in an interview to the IBN 7 channel.

Rane, who left the Shiv Sena in 2005 and joined the Congress, said: “This is an issue that concerns all Maharashtrians, naturally we would like locals to get preference in employment. If north Indian leaders can come together to defend their community, what is wrong if Maharashtra’s leaders come together to fight for our own community?”

Asked whether his support of the Marathi cause was not due to his apparent discontent with the Congress party, he said: “I am raising certain issues within the Congress, why should that be seen as a rebellion?”

He also rejected reports that he was planning to join hands with Raj Thackeray. “Where is the question of any alliance with Raj Thackeray?”

Rane recently kicked off a fresh controversy by claiming that he was betrayed by the Congress leadership after being promised chief ministership of the state.

“I am hurt and angry because I was promised the chief ministership when I joined the Congress three years ago. I kept my side of the bargain by strengthening the Congress. However, the party did not keep its side of the promise and assurances that were made to me. Naturally, I will feel hurt and angry,” said Rane.

Rane left the Shiv Sena in 2005 after apparently being sidelined by Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray to make way for his son Uddhav Thackeray.

Rane refused to say who had promised him the chief minister’s post and who had betrayed him.

“I will not reveal who promised it, but the people who did (it) know what is the truth. It is obvious that there are people in the Congress who don’t like my face,” said Rane.

While denying any plans to leave the Congress, Rane questioned the leadership of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

“Maharashtra cannot progress without a new leadership; we need a new leadership to take the state forward. Farmer suicides, power crisis, we need a strong leadership to address the many issues facing Maharashtra,” commented rane.

Rane shared during the interview that he has spoken to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking a leadership change. He said, “Mrs Gandhi is my leader, I share everything with her. She knows what is happening in the state.”

Once close to Congress general secretary Margaret Alva, he refused to believe that Alva’s removal should have any bearing on his chances as a chief minister.

“This is not about any individual. I was given some assurances, which have not been kept. I don’t think my future should be linked to others,” Rane concluded.

Alva was relieved of her party posts after she alleged bungling in the ticket distribution for the Karnataka assembly elections in May 2008 had that some party leaders had taken money to select candidates.

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