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Narayan Rane’s entry into BJP looks bleak

Former Congress leader Narayan Rane’s entry into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been postponed once again, raising questions over the political future of the ex-chief minister. Despite a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday, Mr Rane’s official entry into the party could not be decided. Now, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has gone on a three-day, official foreign tour to South Korea and Singapore, due to which no major political event will take place till his return.

A week after quitting the Congress, Mr Rane’s next move is undecided. There was speculation about him forming a new group to contest the gram panchayat polls. But there was no confirmation from the Rane camp. Sources close to him said the leader would join the BJP, but next month.

A senior BJP leader said the party is keen on taking Mr Rane and entrusting him with some important responsibility. But it is not clear if Mr Rane’s sons will also join the BJP. “Rane has quit from Congress and also resigned as an MLC. But his son Nitesh is still MLA with Congress. It is not sure if he would come to BJP,” the BJP leader said. Some of the BJP leaders from Konkan region have also expressed reservations about Mr Rane joining the party. The BJP leadership however, is tight-lipped about his entry.

BJP ally Shiv Sena has also opposed Mr Rane’s entry into the ruling party. Worli area, a Sena stronghold, saw a few boards being put up against Mr Rane’s entry to BJP. Sources in the Shiv Sena said the BJP might use Mr Rane against the Sena in the Konkan region for the next Assembly polls. The Sena and the BJP are not expected to contest the next polls together, considering the growing differences between the two parties.

Meanwhile, RSS leader Bhayyaji Joshi and Amit Shah met in Mumbai on Tuesday, sparking rumours about Mr Rane’s entry into the party. However, Mr Joshi clarified that the meeting had nothing to do with Mr Rane. “It was a courtesy visit by Shah. All the issues are not publicly discussed and BJP will decide that (about Rane),” he said.

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