NEW DELHI: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, who was with the Shiv Sena earlier, has targeted his erstwhile party colleague and predecessor Manohar Joshi, saying he was a "weak" Chief Minister because of which the party could not deliver on its promises in four years of government in 1995.
Rane, who succeeded Joshi as Chief Minister from February 1999, also insisted that Balasaheb Thackeray never wanted a 'remote-control sarkaar' (government) and that the late Shiv Sena supremo never stopped him from taking any decision which were even slightly beneficial for the state.
Rane entered politics by joining the Shiv Sena under the leadership of Balasaheb Thackeray.
He was expelled from the party in July 2005 after he publicly criticised party working President Udhav Thackeray and questioned his administrative abilities. He later joined Congress and was made Maharashtra's Revenue Minister.
In September 2017, Rane ended his decade-long association with the Congress and floated his own party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Party (MSP). He was elected unopposed as a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra as a BJP candidate last year.
He has given a glimpse of many phases of his political career in his memoir 'No Holes Barred: My Years in Politics', which was released on Monday. The 208-page book has been published by HarperCollins India.
Writing about Joshi, Rane said, "The Sena (Shiv Sena) failed to deliver on its promises in the first four years of our government because Manohar Joshi was a weak Chief Minister."
He said Joshi, who headed a coalition government of the Shiv Sena and the BJP from March 1995, did not know how to rein in his own cabinet or the bureaucrats.
"The officers did not fear him as he didn't hold them accountable, and everyone acted in their own interests instead of as a united force," Rane wrote about the first non-Congress Chief Minister of the state.
"Even when they failed him (Joshi) miserably, he did not reprimand them for not implementing policies which Saheb (Balasaheb Thackeray) and the party had envisioned for the state."
Talking about Bal Thackeray, Rane said, "He always followed my activities closely, even when I was the Chief Minister and rang me up often to praise me and motivate me to keep going."
In the book Rane said that "he (Bal Thackeray) never, as far as my memory serves me, stopped me from executing any policies or decisions which were for the benefit of government and the people".
"He (Bal Thackeray) gave me an absolute free hand to act in the best interests of people of Maharashtra, regardless of caste, creed and political or social status," he wrote.
Praising the late Shiv Sena supremo, Rane said, "I also want to set the record straight for those who believe that Saheb had said he wanted a 'remote control sarkaar', he indulged in illicit activities which were harmful to the state or the government. This is absolutely false.
"In fact, there were times when important people brought proposals to me which I felt were not good for the government. I would consult him and he would immediately, without second thoughts, back me and say, 'don't ever pass any proposal which is not in the best interests of the state'."
Rane also recalled that, at the same time, "he (Bal Thackeray) never ever stopped me from going forward with any decisions which were even slightly beneficial to Maharashtra. But that was Balasaheb. They just don't make leaders like him any more."