Congress rebel Narayan Rane is all set to launch his own party using the Swabhiman Sanghatana (SS), an NGO run by his son and Congress MLA Nitesh Rane. Sources close to Mr. Rane informed that a State-level meeting of SS activists has been called on September 30, on which day Dussehra falls. On Wednesday, Mr. Rane met supporters at his Nariman Point office to discuss strategy.
The chances of Mr. Rane joining the BJP are looking more distant as time passes; after resigning from the Congress a week ago, he has met BJP president Amit Shah seeking a State Cabinet berth, but received no assurance. Sources said the BJP expects him to form his own party to take on the Shiv Sena and the Opposition in Konkan, Mr. Rane home turf.
The SS was envisioned as a launch vehicle for Nitesh in 2010, and works on issues related to unemployment and water theft in Mumbai. It has since extended its reach across the city and to the Konkan region. As a Congress leader, Mr. Rane was criticised for working for SS instead of the party. Then a senior minister in the State Cabinet, he had brushed it off saying the organisation was run by his son, who was yet to join the Congress at the time.
A close Rane aide said, “While the name of the new party will be decided soon, it will surely have Swabhiman (self respect) in it. Going by the discussions over in past few days, we are sure that Ranesaheb will be given a [State] Cabinet berth.”