MUMBAI: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane reiterated that he would soon be joining the BJP and also merge his Maharashtra Swabhiman Party with the BJP as he extended a grand welcome to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who reach Rane's hometown Kankawli in Konkan on his Maha Janadesh Yatra on Tuesday.
Fadnavis, who spoke on development related issues, however, avoided any comment on Rane's induction into his party.
The issue of Rane's joining BJP assumes importance amidst the prevailing tension between the BJP and the Shiv Sena over the seat sharing arrangement. While several formulae for seat sharing are being speculated, both the parties are also preparing for all the assembly segments indicating that they are also preparing for the worst.
In Nashik, guardian minister Girish Mahajan, who reviewed the preparations for PM Modi's rally on Thursday, told the media that the party is preparing for all 288 seats though it is sure of the alliance.
Rane is amongst the contentious issues between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. Rane had challenged Uddhav Thackeray when he left Shiv Sena in 2005 which is the reason why the party is dead against his political rehabilitation.
The BJP might use Rane against the Shiv Sena in Konkan if both the parties couldn't reach consensus on seat sharing. At a meeting of party cadres at Panvel on Sunday party's working president J P Nadda and state incharge Bhoopendr Yadav appealed party workers to increase the party's tally in Konkan region. The party currently holds 10 out of 39 seats innthe region while Shiv Sena has 14. The Shiv Sena has also inducted several heavyweight leaders from the NCP in Konkan which give it an advantage.