MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, who has quit the Congress, met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday amid speculations that he was keen on joining the BJP.
Rane, while speaking to media at the Mumbai Airport earlier in the day had said that he wanted to extend an invitation to Shah for the inauguration of a hospital set up by him at Kudal. However, the real agenda was to get a confirmation on the process of his joining the BJP, sources said.
The local BJP unit in the Konkan is wary of Rane due to his high-handed means of getting things done.
However, the higher leadership in the party is still trying to judge Rane’s capacity to dent the Shiv Sena in Konkan and the Congress in other parts of the state.
Also, he would be a better hand in handling the Maratha wrath in the state, the party leadership believes.
Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, when asked recently about the possibility of Rane joining the saffron party, had said that a decision in this regard would be taken by Shah, as Rane is a senior leader and a former chief minister.
Announcing his decision to quit the Congress in his home turf of Sindhudurg district in the coastal Maharashtra, Rane had accused the Congress of reneging on the promise of making him the state's chief minister when he joined the party 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena.
He was the chief minister of Maharashtra in 1999 while in the Shiv Sena.
"I have not yet decided where to go," he said while announcing his exit from the Congress, adding that he would make an announcement before Dussehra, which falls on September 30.
The former firebrand Sena leader had joined the Congress in 2005.
Speculation about Rane joining the BJP was triggered by reports suggesting that he had met Shah in Ahmedabad a few months ago.
During the recent Ganesh festival, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited Rane's residence.
(With Inputs from PTI)