Narayan Rane to contest Rajya Sabha elections on BJP ticket

Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane has declared that he will be contesting upcoming Rajya Sabha elections from the state with assured support from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Rane will file in his nomination papers on 12 March, which is the last day to do so. Polls for the Upper House of Parliament will be held on 23 March and Maharashtra has six seats up for grabs.

Rane had met BJP chief Amit Shah in Delhi last week along with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadanvis. He told reporters after the meeting that his inclusion into the state’s cabinet will not happen immediately, but he was free to contest Rajya Sabha polls with BJP’s backing, instead.

Right after he quit Congress last year due to differences with the state’s party leadership, the influential Konkan strongman had approached BJP. Instead of being directly indicted into the party, Rane floated his own outfit, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, and allied himself with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

With BJP’s strength of 122 MLAs in Maharashtra’s 288-member state assembly, the party is assured of three Rajya Sabha seats. Along with Rane, BJP is going to send Union minister Prakash Javadekar to the Upper House, but their third nominee has not been announced yet.