IANS

Maratha chieftains meet, trigger speculation

Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Dec 3 (IANS) It took just one phone call from Konkan strongman Narayan Rane to make Maharashtra titan Sharad Pawar rush to meet him at his home in Kankavali here on Monday, setting political tongues furiously wagging.

Once a bitter political foe of Pawar, Rane, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Party (MSP) President, is now an ally of the ruling NDA at the Centre and state.

But that didn’t stop the aggressive Rajya Sabha MP (Rane) from giving his senior colleague (Pawar) in the Upper House of Parliament a warm welcome at his home here this afternoon and taking him to a closed door rendevouz.

As tense media-persons and party activists of NCP and MSP waited, after nearly half an hour, the two emerged with smiles – but with nothing to report.

“There was no political discussion — I have nothing to inform the media,” said Pawar with a sly grin, while Rane stood beside him without offering comment.

However, Rane Jr, Nitesh was more forthcoming and said all political parties and their leaders know Narayan Rane’s power and influence over the entire coastal Konkan region.

“There’s no need for any political discussions. What has transpired between them would be for the good of the state and the country. Let’s wait and see how things unfold,” Nitesh Rane, a Congress legislator, told IANS.

NCP state spokesperson Nawab Malik remained guarded in his response and said, “Anything can happen in politics.”

“The 2019 Parliament elections are coming. It will be crucial for all. Anything can happen in politics,” Malik told IANS.

Pawar has been touring Konkan since Sunday and was slated to pass via Kankavali to Ratnagiri, when Rane’s call came, inviting him for a tete-a-tete over tea, according to Nitesh Rane.

The meeting assumes significance coming barely days after the Maharashtra government announced 16 per cent quota for the politically-influential Marathas, and the upcoming elections to both Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly in 2019.

A former Shiv Sena Chief Minister, Rane had joined the Congress and was the chairman of a committee which had made recommendations on the Maratha reservation issue in 2014, and in October 2017, he launched the independent MSP political party.

–IANS
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