'Don't induct Rane into party, he is corrupt': Shiv Sena tells BJP
Mumbai, Sep 23: Senior Shiv Sena leader Deepak Kesarkar on Saturday advised the BJP against inducting former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, who recently quit the Congress, into the party.
"Rane has not learnt his lessons. Like Sena, it is the BJP's responsibility to stop corruption. Do they need to induct a person like Rane who has a criminal nature and indulges in corrupt practices?" Kesarkar, Maharashtra's Minister of State for Home, told reporters in Jalna.
Speculation is rife in Maharashtra about the possibility of Rane joining the BJP. Rane, who was handpicked by Shiv Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray for chief ministership in 1999, had quit the saffron party and joined the Congress in 2005 over differences with Uddhav Thackeray, the party's executive president.
Rane's departure and his criticism of the Thackerays still rankles with the Sena. The recent threat by Shiv Sena leader about the possibility of the party pulling out of the coalition government in Maharashtra was widely seen as a move to preempt Rane's entry into the BJP.
The relations between the two saffron allies, which share power both in the state and at the Centre, have been under strain for quite some time. Referring to the alleged remark by Rane that he would engineer defections in the Congress, Kesarkar asked," How will he do that, if not by use of money power?"
The Sena leader said it would be important to hear Prime Minister Narendra Modi's view on Rane joining the BJP as he (the PM) has often talked about zero tolerance to corruption.
Responding to Kesarkar's allegations against Rane, his son Nitesh, an MLA, told PTI it reflected the Sena leader's "frustration".
Hitting back at Kesarkar for calling his father corrupt, Nitesh said,"It is ironical that a person whose family in Sindhudurg is known to be smugglers is calling us names. If at all Rane ji decides to join the BJP, all concerned will have the information."
He accused Kesarkar of "underestimating" the wisdom of elected public representatives when he talked about the possibility of Rane engineering defections. "If MLAs want to stay with us, they will do so only when they know it is good for them."