MUMBAI: Was the inclusion of Narayan Rane in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet the reason behind the BJP and Shiv Sena failing to patch up? Spokesperson for Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's camp Deepak Kesarkar on Friday insisted it was so.
Kesarkar, a former minister for state in the Maharashtra cabinet, said that the Shiv Sena and BJP were set to come together once again in the state.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uddhav Thackeray had also spoken in this regard. But in the state assembly session, 12 BJP MLAs got suspended due to their unruly conduct and that delayed the patch up. BJP got angry, but again efforts were made. But the BJP's decision to include Narayan Rane as minister in government sabotaged the tie-up plan," Kesarkar said.
Narayan Rane is an old Shiv Sainik who took several detours before finding a place in the BJP in 2019. Rane took charge as new Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the role he currently holds, on July 8, 2021.
Rane and Uddhav Thackeray have a long history of rivalry.
Kesarkar had more to add.
"I say on oath that all this happened. Narayan Rane's inclusion in the Modi cabinet and his tirade against Aditya Thackeray angered the Shiv Sena leadership. Rane deliberately dragged Aditya Thackeray's name into Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death case. Narayan Rane and his son Nitesh Rane both tried to malign Aditya's name by using the BJP platform. They used the press conferences held in the BJP office to target Aditya Thackeray.
"We complained about this to BJP leaders including the Prime Minister and said the smear campaign should stop. The PM also agreed and expressed a lot of love and affection towards the Thackeray family. That incident created the rift between the BJP and Shiv Sena," Kesarkar claimed, adding that if even one word of his turned out to be untrue, he will leave politics permanently.
Kesarkar said that after Eknath Shinde's revolt, many of the leaders were in touch with Uddhav Thackeray when the revolting MLAs were in Surat and requested him to let bygones be bygones and patch up with BJP.
"Thackeray was ready to patch up with BJP but he wanted to keep aside Eknath Shinde. The BJP was not ready for this. The MLAs who were in Assam were also not ready for this new formula," Kesarkar revealed.