Rane eats humble pie, withdraws resignation (Lead)August 23rd, 2008 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Apparently realising that discretion was the better part of valour, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane Saturday withdrew his resignation from the state cabinet he had tendered earlier in the month and said he would happily resume his duties as a minister.The erstwhile Shiv Sena rebel, who had publicly criticised the Aug 5 state cabinet decision to allot City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) land in Navi Mumbai to electronics major Videocon at a “throwaway price” before putting in his papers, Saturday met party president Sonia Gandhi and undertook to work in the party under her guidance.
Flanked by newly appointed campaign committee chief Gurudas Kamat and confidante Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani, a mellowed Rane told waiting newspersons outside the 10 Janpath residence of Gandhi that having put across his views to the party president, he hoped she would guide his way in an appropriate manner.
“I had apprised the leader of my perspective of the state of affairs in the party and the government during my earlier meeting with her and there was no question of repeating that today,” he said in response to queries whether his grievances were addressed or any promises made.
Replying to another query, the leader known for his egotism and intransigence said he suffered no humiliation in the party or the government at any point of time.
An indication that the marginalised rebel might come round was available Thursday when Rane attended the function to felicitate newly appointed Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre in the party’s Tilak Bhavan office in Mumbai.
The fact that he skipped the cabinet meeting the same day that confirmed the minutes of the earlier meeting including the resolution on land allotment to Videocon was interpreted as technical, pending decision on the resignation he had handed over to the party high command.
The maverick’s conduct in the preceding fortnight during which he did not once visit his Mantralaya (state secretariat) office but kept making acerbic statements at various public functions, however, gave rise to speculations that he might quit the party.
Not limiting his fusillade against Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to his decision to allot CIDCO land to Videocon under a central government incentive scheme, Rane had said it was futile to remain in the cabinet under an “utterly inactive and incompetent” leadership that spelt doom for the party in the forthcoming elections.
He had also dubbed several government policies and decisions as “anti-people” and said the chief minister had failed to handle major issues bedevilling the state like farm suicides, power crisis and unemployment.
The Congress high command however chose to ignore Rane’s intransigence and refrained both from taking disciplinary action against him or taking any decision on his resignation, thus leaving him in a limbo.
Instead, the party reportedly offered him a choice between the state unit president’s post and the campaign committee headship. While Rane spurned both offers, he longer had a reason to damage the party in his stronghold Konkan.
This, coupled with the fact that no major party (not to speak of Shiv Sena that he deserted in spite of enjoying the state chief minister’s post in its government) seemed keen on taking him in its fold, had severely limited his options in and out of the Congress.