Mumbai: Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, who founded the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh last year, will file his nomination papers on 12 March for one of three Rajya Sabha seats from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) quota from Maharashtra. Rane had been told by the party leadership that he could not be accommodated at this stage in the state cabinet, a senior state BJP functionary confirmed.
“He was reluctant to get nominated to the Rajya Sabha as his political interests lie in the state. But there is no suitable slot for him in the state cabinet and a Rajya Sabha seat is the only option to rehabilitate him in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA),” said the BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
Elections to 58 Rajya Sabha seats in several states are slated to be held on 23 March. Maharashtra will elect six of these and the BJP has the numbers to elect three. Union human resources development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar filed his nomination last week for one of the three seats. The BJP has yet to declare its nominee for the third seat. The Shiv Sena has nominated its sitting Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP) Anil Desai from its quota of one seat and the Nationalist Congress Party has named Vandana Chavan as its nominee. The Congress is yet to name its candidate for its Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra. Monday is the last day to file nominations.
Rane left the Congress in September last year and founded his own party a month later. The state election commission last week issued a press release saying the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh has been registered on 6 March as a regional party. Last year, Rane also announced that his party would join the BJP-led NDA.
The former Congress leader, who quit the Shiv Sena to join the Congress in 2005, has on numerous occasions expressed his desire to become a minister in the state, even issuing a few ultimatums to the BJP. In fact, he was keen to join the BJP but Fadnavis and a few other BJP leaders in the state suggested to him that he should form a new party that would support the NDA, according to the BJP leader cited above.
The leader added that a section of the BJP leadership in the state including Fadnavis feels that accommodating Rane in the state cabinet as a senior minister would send a wrong signal to loyal party cadres.
“As it is, party cadres are not happy about so many imports from other parties getting key positions in the BJP,” the BJP leader said.