Rane expelled from Sena, attacks Bal Thackeray, Uddhav

Rane expelled from Sena, attacks Bal Thackeray, Uddhav
Mumbai, Jul 3 (PTI) Shiv Sena today expelled its leader in Maharashtra assembly Narayan Rane a day after he announced his decision to resign from his post and the former Chief Minister hit back by mounting a sharp attack on Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and his son and political heir Uddhav.

Announcing the expulsion, Sena chief Bal Thackeray told reporters that Rane should also resign from the state assembly as he was elected on a Sena ticket.

"While announcing the decision to step down as Sena leader yesterday, Rane had talked about his `self-respect' being above everything else. If he has any self-respect, then he should also resign his assembly seat," Thackeray told reporters after addressing a meeting of party MLAs and office-bearers here.

Rane is the second front-ranking Sena leader to leave the party in a decade after Chhagan Bhujbal. A couple of months back, another prominent Sena leader Sanjay Nirupam also left the party and joined Congress.

The Sena chief, who was flanked today by Uddhav and his nephew Raj, said Rane's exit would not affect the party. "We have become immune to jolts," he said when asked whether severing ties with Rane would be a setback for the party.

Asked if he thought any other political party or leader was behind Rane's move, Thackeray said "may be..May be not". If there is indeed somebody, then you know who that person is", he said when asked whether Thackeray's `old friend (Sharad Pawar) was behind Rane's action.

In Delhi, NCP general secretary D P Tripathi said Rane was welcome to his party-fold.

Thackeray said "Rane had recently met Uddhav while the two were abroad and all of a sudden he has taken this move. He has betrayed the party".

"Rane began a show of strength...People were threatened. I cannot tolerate gangsterism in the Sena," he said.

Asked if he thought that some other of Sena's 63 MLAs would also leave the party along with Rane, Bal Thackeray said, "half-a dozen or a dozen people leaving does not matter. The party will not get weaker. Look what happened after Chhagan Bhujbal left us. We came to power after that".

Thackeray denied Rane's charge that the latter was not invited for any party meetings recently. "I had invited him for the screening of the Hindi film `Sarkar' at Mumbai recently. He did not come. He (Rane) also did not attend the Sena's foundation day on June 19," he said.

The Sena chief said there was no truth in Rane's recent allegation at a party meeting that party tickets and posts were for sale. "If it is proved that Uddhav, Raj and myself have taken money, we will not stay in the party", Thackeray said.

Hours after his expulsion, Rane, at a press conference, targetted the Sena supremo saying "the love for son has scored above everything else", an apparent but unnamed reference to Uddhav who is the executive President of the party.

He accused Uddhav, his aide Milind Narvekar and Sena leader Subhash Desai of "conspiring against him for the last four-five years" and said "the Sena had lost its lustre under Uddhav's command.

Next Story : Advani, not RSS behind Kulkarni's exit
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