Won't defend, but also won't express regret over Rane's remarks against CM Thackeray: Maha BJP chief

I am not defending Rane's comments, but I will also not express regret," Patil told a regional news channel

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil
Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil


Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Tuesday distanced himself from Union minister Narayan Rane's remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP does not support Rane's comments, but the way he has been targeted, the "party stands behind him 100 per cent".

I am not defending Rane's comments, but I will also not express regret," Patil told a regional news channel.

Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey on Tuesday issued orders for the immediate arrest of Rane and a team of city police left for Chiplun in Konkan region, where Rane is present now, after a complaint against the Union minister over the remarks.

Fadnavis said the BJP does not support Rane's comments, but the way the Union minister has been targeted, the "party stands behind him 100 per cent".

Fadnavis termed attacks on BJP offices and agitations on roads in parts of the state over Rane's remarks as "state-sponsored violence".

Alleging that the state police force was being used as a tool for "vendetta politics", the former chief minister said there should be law and order and "not Taliban-like governance".

Patil wondered how a state could plan to arrest a Union minister. "Is there no administrative procedure?" he asked.

People who are pointing fingers at Rane should not forget that there have been several instances of Uddhav Thackeray using inflammatory language, the BJP leader said.

On Monday, during his 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra' in adjoining Raigad district, Rane said, It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. 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."

The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15 address to the people of the state. Thackeray had to check the year of independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said.

Shiv Sena workers held agitations in parts of the state on Tuesday to protest Rane's remarks. The Sena and BJP activists also clashed with each other over the issue near Rane's residence in Mumbai.

Besides, stones were hurled at the BJP's office in Nashik city, while Shiv Sena workers held agitations in Nagpur, officials said.

Fadnavis alleged that "police were protecting the attackers, like West Bengal where post-poll violence was orchestrated by the state government".

"He (Rane) might have used those words in a flow, unintentionally. He could have expressed his anguish in another way over CM Uddhav Thackeray forgetting the year of independence, the BJP leader said, adding that there should be some restraint while criticising a person holding the post of chief minister of a state.

Rane might have got offended by CM Thackeray forgetting the 75th year of independence, Fadnavis said.

On cases registered against Rane in parts of the state, Fadnavis said, "Legally speaking, it is not even a cognisable offence, but it has been deliberately treated as cognisable. Police seem to be acting like a king. It is misuse of the police force."

Fadnavis said even if Rane has to be arrested, police will have to record his statement first.

"But, the current situation of some police officials is like they start crawling when asked to bend. The state police force is being used as a tool for vendetta politics, he claimed.

There are some news clips wherein Shiv Sena workers claimed that they were attacking the BJP's office on the instructions of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. There should be law and order and not Taliban-like governance, Fadnavis said.

He said BJP workers would not tolerate any attack on the party offices.

Mumbai BJP MLA Ram Kadam defended the Union minister and said, "Rane is know for his aggressiveness. There could be a difference of opinion over his choice of words.

He alleged that from the day of commencement of the Jan Ashirwad Yatra, the Thackeray-led Maharashtra government was trying to misuse power and hinder Rane's rally.

"This is cheating by the state government. The state government is scared because of the massive response garnered by his rally, the legislator told a news channel.

He also claimed that Thackeray as CM had earlier made controversial statements and also used inflammatory language. "However, it was conveniently ignored by people as well as the state machinery, Kadam said.

BJP leader Pramod Jathar, who is co-ordinating Rane's yatra in Ratnagiri district, said, Rane's language is similar to that of late Balasaheb Thackeray (the founder of Shiv Sena). The Jan Ashirwad Yatra will continue for sure.

Asked about Rane's remarks, he said, CM Thackeray forgetting the year of independence is more insulting. Rane only expressed feelings of the common man.

However, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik claimed the BJP was trying disturb the harmony in Maharashtra, and said "there will be repercussions" if a person makes controversial remarks.

"The state will not accept this kind of language. Rane has not only insulted CM Thackeray, but also the people of this state. If a person makes controversial remarks, there will be repercussions, said Malik, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra.

He also claimed that the BJP was trying to do politics, "like it did in West Bengal by inciting violence".

"The BJP must understand that Maharashtra will not get into it," he added.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered against Rane at Chatushringi police station in Pune over his remarks.

Pune's Deputy Commissioner of Police Mitesh Ghatte said, "An offence has been registered against Rane under IPC Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 ( statements conducing to public mischief), following a complaint by an office-bearer of the Yuva Sena (the Shiv Sena's youth wing."

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