Maharashtra industries minister Narayan Rane on Monday resigned from his position, reportedly protesting Congress high command's decision to let Prithviraj Chavan continue as Chief Minister. However, Chavan has refused to accept Rane's resignation.
Rane is expected to address a press conference later in the day and explain the reasons for his resignation. The minister, an aspirant to the CM post, has been demanding for a change of guard in the state, to fight the ensuing Assembly elections.
Rane has been advocating that under the leadership of Chavan, the party cannot win the Assembly polls, which are just a few months away.
Since the last general elections, in which Congress managed to win only two MP seats out of 27, Rane has been insisting the Congress leadership to remove Chavan from the Chief Minister's position, telling that Chavan at the helm would mean a defeat again for the party in the forthcoming elections.
This is not the first time that Rane has tendered his resignation. After the debacle of Congress in the April/May general elections, Rane had submitted his resignation to the Chief Minister but Chavan had turned it down back then as well.
On Monday, Rane went to the Chief Minister's official residence and submitted his resignation, PTI reported by quoting sources. But the CM refused to accept his resignation.
Rane had said on Sunday that if the party goes to Assembly polls under the leadership of Chavan, they will face the same debacle like in the last general election.
Rane said that he will not quit Congress. However, reports have claimed that Rane is in touch with the BJP, which is reportedly looking out for a mass leader from the Maratha land, after the demise of Gopinath Munde, a backward community leader with mass following. Munde was killed in a road accident back in June, after the new central government sworn in.
When Rane was with Shiv Sena, he was the CM of Maharashtra for nine months in 1999, in the then-NDA government in the state.
After quitting Shiv Sena, Rane joined Congress in 2005 and was inducted as a minister in the Vilasrao Deshmukh government. It is said that Rane joined Congress by abandoning Shiv Sena on the understanding that he would be made CM. However, Congress has not yet fulfilled his wish.
Currently, Shiv Sena, led by Uddhav Thackeray, is reluctant to welcome back Rane. Thackeray has also strongly objected to Rane's possible entry into BJP as Shiv Sena and BJP have formed the "Mahayuti" alliance and won a landslide victory in the state in general elections.