M A I N   N E W S

Rane resigns from Assembly
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 23
Former Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane today resigned as a member of the Maharashtra Assembly prior to his formal entry into the Congress party. He met with Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar this afternoon and tendered his resignation. Some of the 10 Shiv Sena MLAs supporting Rane too met with the Speaker though they remained tightlipped on their resignations.

However, neither Mr Rane nor any of the 10 MLAs with him supported the Shiv Sena’s bid for the post of the Leader of Opposition thereby letting its ally BJP to bid for the post.

Meanwhile, Congress sources said here today that Mr Rane would be inducted into Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s cabinet as a minister with a major portfolio. Under the law, Mr Rane would have six months to contest and win his seat in the legislature.

An exultant Mr Rane told reporters here that he was in the process of splitting up the Shiv Sena. Prominent Shiv Sena leader and former Mayor of Mumbai Hareshwar Patil was the first to leave the Shiv Sena in the wake of Mr Rane’s resignation. “I will make an open appeal for others to come out of the Sena on Monday,” Mr Rane said. He is expected to organise a rally in the coming days with prominent Shiv Sena leaders joining him. “Whatever I have said in the past 15 days has come true. Despite being in the Opposition they could not get the position of the Leader of Opposition. This is their defeat,” Mr Rane said.

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