Sena to BJP via Congress: Who is Narayan Rane, the Union Min Who Got Arrested?

Rane's arrest marked the first time a serving Union Minister was arrested in over two decades.

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Narayan Rane's arrest marked the first time a serving Union minister was arrested in over two decades.</p></div>

The Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Narayan Rane, was arrested on Tuesday, 24 August, for his remarks saying he would give 'a tight slap' to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who, Rane had claimed, was ignorant of the year of India's Independence.

Rane was attending his Jan Ashirwad Yatra in Raigad district when he publicly shamed CM Thackeray.

Referring to his speech on Independence Day, he iterated, "He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap."

Rane's arrest marked the first time a serving Union minister was arrested in over two decades.

This is not the first time that Rane – a leader who ventured into mainstream politics under the guidance of the late Bal Thackeray and found his way into Narendra Modi's cabinet – has caught the public eye over a rift with senior Shiv Sena leadership. Here's what we know about the politician.

Political Beginnings

Journeying towards becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra, the 69-year-old first stepped into politics as Chembur's shakha pramukh (local ward chief) in the Shiv Sena.

Sena was then led by Uddhav Thackeray's father Balasaheb Thackeray, and was in a coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In 1999, at the tail end of the Sena-BJP government, Rane was elected as the successor to Manohar Joshi, as CM of Maharashtra.

Four years later, Uddhav Thackeray was named the party’s “executive president” at a convention in Mahabaleshwar – a step which saw resistance from Rane.

In 2005, Babasaheb expelled Rane for “anti-party activities” after he alleged that Sena had sold electoral posts and tickets.

A Stint With Congress & Dawn of a New Party

Following his expulsion from Sena, Rane joined the Indian National Congress in August 2005 and was promised the chief ministerial post.

But, after serving as revenue minister in the Prithviraj Chavan government, he tendered his resignation in September 2017.

In a statement against the INC, Rane had expressed, "When I found that there was no scope for me in the Congress, I decided to quit from the primary membership of the party and membership of the legislative council."

In the same year, Rane went on to form the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha – a party he said would "raise people’s issues."

Introduction in the BJP

By 2018, the former CM has declared his support for the BJP and announced the merger of BJP and Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha under the Devendra Fadnavis administration in 2019.

Having a bitter history with the Thackerays, Rane was touted as the lynchpin of the BJP's strategy against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Rane had reportedly asserted, “We will ensure the end of three decades of Shiv Sena regime in BMC,” The Indian Express quoted.

The leader's arrest has come during what is seen as the peak of his political career. In July 2021, Rane was inducted into Narendra Modi's Cabinet as Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Upon his induction, former CM Fadnavis had said, "Rane has been picked on the basis of his ability and it has nothing to do with the Shiv Sena."

(With inputs from Outlook and The Indian Express)

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