MUMBAI: Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan today said that the reasons cited by senior leader Narayan Rane for leaving the party were "devoid of facts".
Rane, who often targeted Chavan while expressing his resentment about the way Congress treated him, today announced that he was quitting the party.
"I came to know through television channels that Narayan Rane has decided to leave the party and resign from party posts. Whatever reasons he gave are devoid of facts. I wish him luck for his future assignments. I will put forth the facts in due course," Chavan told PTI.
While announcing his exit from the Congress earlier in the day, Rane said that Chavan did not have "any qualification" to be the state unit's chief and accused Chavan of conspiring against him.
AICC chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in Delhi that the former Maharashtra chief minister's move was "intriguing" as it came a day after what he called levelling of allegations against Rane by a BJP leader over his alleged connections with Dawood Ibrahim.
Rane also accused the Congress of reneging on the promise of making him the chief minister when he joined the party 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena.
Reacting to the development, Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe dismissed Rane's earlier claim that her party had invited him to return to its fold.
"I do not have any clue if any offer was made at all. But it is improbable that someone approached him and he declined," Gorhe told PTI.
"From what I know about how our party functions, any person in Sena will not do anything without a green signal from (party chief) Uddhav Thackeray," she said.
Despite the late Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray making him chief minister, Rane forgot history and continues to criticise Uddhav Thackeray, she said.
Meanwhile, as speculation is rife that Rane may join the BJP, the ruling party said it was an occasion for the Congress to introspect.
"People are not happy with the organisation. The Congress is on the verge of destruction. If senior leaders are quitting the party for not being treated properly, the party needs to introspect," said Atul Shah, state BJP spokesperson.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik, on the other hand, hit out at Rane, calling him hungry for power.
"The Congress gave him a ministerial berth and made him a member of Legislative Council. When his party is out of power, this greedy man, who cannot live without power, is knocking on BJP's doors. The question is whether the BJP will accept him or will he become another Shankersinh Vaghela," Malik said.