M A I N   N E W S

Rane sacks Sena whip, appoints his own man
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 4
Sacked Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane is all set to spark off a constitutional crisis in the Maharashtra legislature after he sacked party whip Gajanan Kirtikar and appointed his own confidant Vinayak Nimhan for the post.

Justifying his action, Rane said Kirtikar was unwell and was not in a position to function as the whip.

Rane’s decision follows a day-long meeting with constitutional experts about his future course of action. Sources say, he is armed with legal advice which would enable him try and take control of the legislative wing of the Shiv Sena with the help of his own man as the whip.

Though Rane was expelled from the Shiv Sena by supremo Bal Thackeray, it will not have any effect on the former Chief Minister. Rane’s position as Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra legislature remains in force as Thackeray does not hold any elected or constitutional post. “I have not received any letter expelling me from the Shiv Sena. I am still a Shiv Sainik,” Rane said.

Rane told reporters late this evening that he had the support of 22 of the 63 Shiv Sena MLAs in the state legislature and more were joining him. “I have no intention of splitting the Sena”, he said.

The new whip will summon a meeting of party MLAs in the next few days and those staying away would be penalised for disobeying the party whip, sources said.

Meanwhile Rane has lined up a series of public rallies and contact programmes with voters in his stronghold, the Konkan region ahead of his resignation.

On the other hand, the NCP and the Congress party in Maharashtra are wooing Narayan Rane. While NCP chief Sharad Pawar has been in touch with Rane, the Congress party’s pointman to woo the disgruntled Shiv Sena leader is former Chief Minister and Governor of Karnataka, Sushilkumar Shinde. “Congress and NCP leaders have called me up to discuss the developments in the Sena, but they are not wooing me to join them,” Rane claimed.


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