Mumbai: Union minister Narayan Rane has sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s Independence.
There is speculation that Rane may be arrested over the remarks against the chief minister. Some reports said a team of Nashik police has left for Chiplun in Konkan region, where Rane is present now, after a complaint against the Union Minister over the remarks. There is no word yet from the police on these developments.
“It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of Independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of Independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap,” Rane said during his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in adjoining Raigad district on Monday.
The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of Independence during his August 15 address to the people of the state. Thackeray had to check the year of Independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said.
Rane’s remarks drew sharp reactions from Shiv Sena, whose workers put several posters in Mumbai and other places, calling him a ‘kombdi chor’ (chicken stealer), a reference to the poultry shop he ran in Chembur five decades ago, during his initial stint with the Bal Thackeray-led party.
Shiv Sena’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP Vinayak Raut said Rane has lost his mental balance.
“To impress BJP leadership, Rane has been attacking Shiv Sena and its leaders. He lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi-led ministry. Modi should show him the door,” Raut said.
Rane flagged off his political life in Mumbai with the son-of-the-soil party led by Bal Thackeray in the late 1960s. He entered the Maharashtra Assembly in 1990 as a Sena MLA.
In February 1999 he was sworn in as Maharashtra's 13th chief minister. That stint was short as the then Shiv Sena-BJP combine lost the state Assembly elections held later that year.
In 2005, Rane parted ways with the Shiv Sena following irreconcilable differences with the Thackerays.
After quitting the Sena, he joined the Congress and was made state revenue minister. He quit the Congress in 2017, saying he had joined it on assurance of being put in the state’s top position in six months.
He founded the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha with his two sons Nilesh and Nitesh as his key generals but later merged it with the BJP.
Rane Approaches Bombay HC
Narayan Rane approached the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, challenging the FIRs registered against him in parts of Maharashtra over his remarks against state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and sought protection from arrest.
Rane's petition, filed through advocate Aniket Nikam, sought the FIRs to be quashed.
The BJP leader also sought an interim order granting him protection from arrest or any coercive action.
The petition was mentioned before a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar, seeking urgent hearing on Tuesday itself.
The bench, however, refused to hear it and said mentioning (of the petition) was not allowed and asked the lawyer to follow the procedure.
"File an application before the Registry department seeking urgent hearing and then we will consider," the court said.
"Everyone has to go through the process. Don't make us do the job of the Registry," the HC said.
The petition has challenged three FIRs lodged against Rane in Pune, Nashik and Mahad in Raigad.
Nikam said the police had not followed the procedure laid down in law before taking steps to arrest Rane.
"Summons under section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure has not been issued," Nikam said.
Earlier in the day, Rane approached a sessions court n Ratnagiri, seeking pre-arrest bail.
The sessions court, however, refused to grant any relief, noting that the case was registered in Nashik and hence, it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the application.
Shiv Sena Workers Protest in Various Cities
Pune/Amravati/Nagpur: Activists of Shiv Sena and its youth wing on staged protests in various cities across Maharashtra against Union minister Narayan Rane's remarks against state Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
In Pune's Deccan Gymkhana area, Sena workers slapped posters of Rane with footwear. Yuva Sena workers staged a demonstration in Hadapsar.
A stone was hurled at a mall located on JM Road in Pune, a police official said.
In Amravati city in east Maharashtra, Sena workers vandalised the BJP office located in the Rajapeth area and also set various posters installed in front of the office on fire in protest against Rane's remarks.
Sena activists poured petrol, brought by them in bottles, on the posters installed outside the office and set them afire around noon. They also hurled stones at the office.
"If BJP leaders don't watch their tongue, we will beat them up. We won't tolerate any indecent criticism of our leader Uddhav Thackeray any more. We damaged the BJP office today and set it on fire, but tomorrow we will beat BJP leaders if they don't mend their ways," Amravati Shiv Sena chief Parag Gudadhe told reporters.
Agitations were also staged by workers of Sena and Yuva Sena in various areas in Nagpur city.
A demonstration was held by Yuva Sena activists at Gandhi Gate in the Mahal area where they raised slogans against Rane.