Congress revokes Rane’s suspension; he thanks Sonia Gandhi (Lead)

February 16th, 2009 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi/Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) More than two months after he was suspended for lashing out at the party leadership, former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane was Monday taken back into the Congress after party president Sonia Gandhi gave her nod.

“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has accepted the proposal of revoking the suspension of Narayan Rane. The proposal was given by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who is also the general secretary in charge of Maharashtra,” Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan told reporters in New Delhi.

To a question whether former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh would be happy with the revocation, Natarajan replied: “Why not?”

Rane met Sonia Gandhi and thanked her for revoking the suspension.

“I met Sonia Gandhi and thanked her for the decision,” Rane told reporters.

On the question of his joining the state cabinet in Maharashtra and further strategy, Rane said: “I will abide by the decision of the party. In future I will work to strengthen the party.”

According to well-placed sources in Mumbai, Narayan Rane may get a berth in the state cabinet after his suspension was revoked.

Another option - directing the party’s election campaign in the state - is also being considered, a party source said.

Rane was suspended from the Congress Dec 6 last year after his outburst against the party leadership when, ignoring his claims, Ashok Chavan was chosen as Maharashtra chief minister in the aftermath of the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist attack.

The announcement revoking Rane’s suspension led to jubilation among his supporters in Mumbai and the Konkan region.

“Today’s positive developments shall pave the way for his early rehabilitation in the party and the government,” said state party general secretary Sanjay Nirupam in Mumbai.

Rane, an ambitious leader with a strong support base in Maharashtra’s Konkan region, left the Shiv Sena and joined the Congress three years ago. He brought six Sena legislators to the Congress fold and promised to bring many more.

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