File- PTI Photo by Santosh Hirlekar
Rane Takes Back Resignation After Assurance From Cong

With Congress apparently cold to his demand for a leadership change in Maharashtra ahead of assembly polls, Konkan strongman Narayan Rane today withdrew his resignation as minister, terming his decision as an "adjustment" after being assured he will be given "due respect".

A fortnight after he resigned from the Cabinet slamming the Congress leadership for not keeping its promise of making him the Chief Minister and claiming the party's prospects under incumbent Prithviraj Chavan were bleak, Rane said he would work for its victory in the elections due in October.

Rane said he decided to withdraw his resignation after consultations with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash, senior ministers and state party chief Manikrao Thakre.

"They told me due respect would be given to me and promises would be kept," Rane told reporters.

"I will work for the victory of Congress in assembly elections. I did not want to contest the elections myself but the party leaders asked me to contest," he said.

Replying to a question whether he was prepared to face the polls under Chavan, Rane said as head of the government Chavan will lead but at party level it will be a collective leadership.

While resigning, Rane had lashed out at Chavan, saying "victory in upcoming assembly elections under the Chief Minister's leadership is difficult. He has a clean image but decision-making is slow, implementation of decisions already taken is tardy. This affects the people who made known their displeasure with the government in Lok Sabha polls."

He had also said he would not like to be "a partner in the blame for defeat in assembly polls".

Rane, a former Shiv Sena Chief Minister, said he had not "gone soft" by taking back his resignation and that "it's adjustment. I don't hanker after posts, posts come to me."

Rane, however, said he had asked for state Congress chief's post for three months before assembly elections, a demand that apparently did not find favour with the party leadership.

Rane's resignation, after lobbying hard for Chavan's removal before the Assembly polls in the aftermath of Congress' dismal showing in the Lok Sabha elections, was seen as a pressure tactic by the influential leader from Konkan.

His decision to withdraw the resignation without securing the post of even state party chief or head of the election campaign committee leave alone the chief ministership is likely to be construed as a loss of face for Rane.

Replying to questions Rane, however, said he is an ambitious person and continues to have chief ministerial ambitions.

"I am an ambitious person and have still not given up my chief ministerial ambitions," he said.

"Congress has not honored the commitment it made. I was told I will be made CM in six months. But in nine years the promise has not been kept," Rane, who has been publicly claiming he was assured of chief minister's post when he quit Shiv Sena to join Congress in 2005, had said after tendering his resignation.

Asked if he was in touch with other parties after quitting the Cabinet, Rane said, "In fact, leaders of other parties were in contact with me."

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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