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BJP Sena clash: Minister Narayan Rane faces arrest over ‘Slap CM’

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Mumbai: Workers of Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena and opposition BJP clashed on the streets in Mumbai today over Union Minister Narayan Rane’s remarks slapping Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for his “ignorance of the year of India’s independence”. Narayan Rane is facing an arrest warrant after a case was registered by Shiv Sena workers.

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The comments have sparked protests by outraged Shiv Sena leaders. A fight broke out as Sena members marching towards Narayan Rane’s home in Mumbai, carrying flags and shouting slogans, were stopped by BJP workers. Scores of policemen tried to break up the fight outside Mr Rane’s Juhu house and even used force to separate rival workers. Stones were also thrown between two groups. Sena workers sat on the road, blocking traffic.

A group of Sena workers were earlier seen throwing stones at the BJP office in Nagpur this morning.

An FIR was filed in Nashik and the police have put out a warrant for the Union Minister’s arrest. Some reports said a police team has left for Chiplun, where Mr Rane is believed to be at present.

The Sena says Mr Rane, a former leader of the party, has been looking to create trouble in the state and his remarks are a part of his strategy to cause tension.

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Mr Rane had made the remarks on Monday at a public meeting in Raigad held as part of the nationwide “Jan Ashirwad Yatra” organised by his party BJP for new ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.

He claimed Mr Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15 address and had to check with his aides mid-speech.

“It is shameful that the Chief Minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to ask about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given him a tight slap,” Mr Rane said.

The youth wing of the Shiv Sena, Yuva Sena, has put up posters across the state using a slur to refer to Mr Rane – “kombdi chor” (chicken stealer) – a reference to the poultry shop he ran in Chembur five decades ago when he was in the Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut launched a fierce attack on Mr Rane.

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“To impress BJP leadership, Rane has been attacking Shiv Sena and its leaders. He lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi-led ministry. Modi should show him the door,” Mr Raut said.

Rane started his political career in Mumbai with the Bal Thackeray-led Shiv Sena. He entered the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1990 as a Shiv Sena MLA.

He took over as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1999, but his tenure was short-lived as the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance lost the state elections later that year.

In 2005, Mr. Rane left Shiv Sena after a conflict with Thackeray.

He joined the Congress and became a Minister of State. But he also quit the Congress in 2017 and accused the party of not fulfilling its promise of making him the chief minister. He founded his own party with his two sons Nilesh and Nitesh but later merged it with BJP. He had joined PM Modi’s cabinet in July.

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