Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday refused speculations of senior Congress leader Narayan Rane joining the BJP, and rejected such reports as ‘kite-flying’ by the media. Rane too earlier in the day rubbished the talk.
The denial came in wake of television channels showing pictures of both Rane and Fadnavis in the same vehicle which was reportedly on its way to BJP President Amit Shah’s residence in Ahmedabad last night.
Talking to reporters, Rane admitted being in Ahmedabad last night but denied reports that he met Shah along with Fadnavis.
“There is something wrong in the pictures. They are not true,” he said.
Fadnavis, separately denied meeting Rane and said,” there is no truth in reports of me meeting (Narayan) Rane or he joining the BJP.”
“The media is only indulging in kite-flying,” Fadnavis told, when asked to comment over the media reports.
Rane said there is no talk of him quitting the Congress.
“There is no proposal or discussion to quit the Congress as yet. When I take such a decision, I will speak out,” he said.
The former Maharashtra CM said his disillusionment is out of the need for the Congress party to be strong and win the next elections.
“Even though I met (Congress Vice-President) Rahul Gandhi recently, no steps are being taken to strengthen the Congress. Rahul heard me out but there is no solution to my grievances as yet,” he said.
In a jibe at Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan, Rane said he has never demanded that Chavan be replaced. “How can I ask for replacement of someone is doing such a brilliant job.”
When asked about his son Nilesh Rane leaving no opportunity to target Chavan, Rane said, “Nilesh is a former MP and has a voice of his own. He can have different views.”
The Konkan leader also said there was an offer from BJP in 2014 to him to join the party.
“I did not say yes or no. Even Ramdas Athavale wanted me to join his party (RPI-A),” he said.
Rane said he has travelled with Fadnavis on two occasions earlier.
“I was in Ahmedabad yesterday for personal work but did not meet anybody. I was back in Mumbai this morning at 6.45 AM. If I wanted to quit the Congress, I would not have met anybody. I will take a decision directly and my meeting with Fadnavis and Shah would have remained a secret,” he said.
Rane said he had a personal meeting at a hotel in Ahmedabad.
“I don’t go out after 10.30 pm so there is no question of me meeting Shah at night. Does any one have a video grab of me stepping out of Shah’s house. Recently BJP minister Jaykumar Raval met me at my Kankavli home. Will I discuss joining BJP with him sitting in my living room,” he asked.
He said he met Fadnavis during the recently concluded Budget session as well.