Politicians sponsoring terrorism with foreign support: Rane (Lead)

December 6th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiMumbai, Dec 6 (IANS) Suspended Congress leader Narayan Rane Saturday hit out at his rivals within the party, saying some Indian political leaders were supporting external forces and financing terror activities in the country.”The government must conduct an inquiry into this aspect and if required, I can provide evidence. I am making this statement with full responsibility,” Rane told a packed media conference at his residence here.

He said that these political leaders not only financed terrorists but also provided them safe haven in the country.

He, however, declined to name any leaders or parties, saying: “When the right time comes, I shall provide all these details.”

He also alleged that Congress leaders were only interested in making money and had no regard for public sentiments or the development of the country.

His allegations came after he was suspended from the party earlier in the day for indiscipline. He was critical of the party leadership for ignoring him while choosing Ashok Chavan as the next Maharashtra chief minister.

Vilasrao Deshmukh resigned as chief minister earlier this week, taking moral responsibility for failing to prevent the Nov 26 terrorist attacks here.

Detailing his version of the political developments in the past two days, Rane said that a conspiracy had been hatched in Varsha, the official residence of the chief minister, to keep him out of the post “at all cost”.

“Deshmukh, along with state party president Manikrao Thakre and Mumbai party chief Kripa Shankar Singh, with the backing of some industrialists, conspired to prevent me from becoming chief minister, though 48 legislators had proposed my name - as compared to 32 who supported Chavan - to the party’s central observers,” Rane said.

“With this kind of support, my name was due to be announced, it was stopped at the last minute,” Rane claimed.

He warned that if his political rivals continued to make baseless allegations against him, he would be compelled to show his “strength” in the party.

“Even at this juncture, I can block the new government from taking office. I can prove the support I enjoy among the legislators. I can approach the state governor and bring to his notice that (chief minister-designate) Ashok Chavan does not enjoy majority support.

“However, keeping in view the grim situation confronting Mumbai and the state in the wake of the terrorist attacks, I shall not take this step,” Rane declared.

Continuing his attack on Deshmukh, Rane read out what he said were official government records proving that the outgoing chief minister had been involved in a number of land scams.

He threatened that he had gathered “so much evidence against Deshmukh” that he could expose a new scam every day.

“They were scared that if I become chief minister, all their scams along with several industrialists would be out in the open. That’s why they had decided even before the legislators’ meetings with the central party observers that I should not be allowed to become chief minister at any cost,” Rane said.

Welcoming his “expulsion” from the Congress, Rane regretted that the party did not want honest and capable persons.

Despite persistent questioning, Rane declined to reveal his future course of action, and laughed off suggestions that he was “offered” plum posts by the Congress as well as other parties.

Responding to a query, he asserted that he had never uttered a word against Congress president Sonia Gandhi nor insulted her political advisor Ahmed Patel, as alleged by his rivals.

“I hold her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in great esteem and have great respect for them,” he said.

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