Mumbai (TOI): In a pre-emptive move, state Congress president Ashok Chavan on Saturday dissolved the entire Sindhudurg district Congress committee led by Datta Samant as well as the block Congress committees controlled by senior Congress leader Narayan Rane. Congress expects that sooner or later, Rane will quit the party and join the BJP. Vikas Sawant, son of former minister Bhai Sawant, will be the new president of the District Congress Committee. Chavan confirmed to TOI that since not a single member was enrolled in the district, it was not possible to hold the organisational elections; as a result, the party had no option but to sack the district president and dissolve all committees.
"We have initiated the process for organisational elections. It was found that in the recent past, not a single member was enrolled in the entire district. Under such circumstances, it was decided to dissolve all the committees,'' Chavan said. A week ago, Congress had deputed Rajya Sabha member Husain Dalwai and Congress general secretary Rajan Bhosale for an on-the-spot study of the political situation in the district in the wake of reports that the Rane family may quit Congress and join the BJP .
The main responsibility on Dalwai and Bhosale was to assess the political situation and ensure that Congress activists stay with the party and do not join the BJP . In Congress circles, it is believed that Rane, along with his sons Nilesh and Nitesh, will soon join the BJP , maybe after the Navratri festival. In the recent past, CM Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president Raosaheb Danve had visited Rane's residence. If a BJP cabinet member is to be believed, BJP has offered Rane nomination to the Rajya Sabha, induction of Nitesh as a minister of state and nomination of Nilesh to the state legislative council, while Rane has submitted that he should be inducted into the state cabinet, Nilesh to Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha and Nitesh to the state assembly .
Since we have set the target of 350-plus seats for Lok Sabha and 200 for assembly , we feel Rane, who has considerable clout in Konkan region, will help us improve our strength," said the BJP cabinet member. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Nilesh lost to Sena's Vinayak Raut in Sindhudrug-Ratnagiri constituency while Rane himself lost from Kudal. Rane made an unsuccessful bid to contest a by-poll from Bandra, but was mauled by Shiv Sena nominee Trupti Sawant.
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