Assembly Elections

Narayan Rane loses to Shiv Sena’s Vaibhav Naik

In a stunning setback, Congress strongman Narayan Rane, who held Kudal, his fief in Sindhudurg district for six terms as MLA, lost to the Shiv Sena’s Vaibhav Naik.

Mr. Rane lost to Mr. Naik by a massive margin of more than 10,200 votes. The result has led to a comeback of Shiv Sena in the Konkan. Despite Mr. Rane’s long shadow over the coastal Malwan belt, a surge of popular anger against his strong-arm tactics coupled with sanction to controversial ecological projects in the verdant Sindhudurg led to the Congressman’s undoing.

“We worked hard and launched a targeted campaign to detail that (Mr.) Rane, as Sindhudurg’s guardian minister, had utterly failed on all counts. I dedicate my victory to the memory of late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray,” said Mr. Naik, who was routed by Mr. Rane in the 2009 Assembly elections.

However, there was some consolation for Mr. Rane in the form of his younger son Nitesh, who was leading in Kankavli.

But things were grim for the Congress in Sawantwadi, where Mr. Rane’s bête noire Deepak Kesarkar, is set for a comfortable victory. Mr. Kesarkar, who jettisoned the NCP to join the Shiv Sena, was instrumental in Nilesh Rane’s (Mr. Rane’s elder son) defeat in the Lok Sabha polls in the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency. Mr. Nilesh Rane was trounced by the Sena’s Vinayak Raut.

Mr. Rane’s pet projects to the tune of Rs. 500 crore — Sea World project in the village of Tondawali and the 260-acre Chipi airport — by which he claimed to have ushered development in Kudal, had proven highly controversial with accusations of land grab flying thick and fast.

“We are happy that Narayan Rane has got his just comeuppance,” said Ravi Kiran Toraskar, who heads the Shramik Machchimar Sanghatana, a fishermen association, speaking to The Hindu from Kudal.

In the last decade, Mr. Toraskar has channelised public resentment against Mr. Rane, accusing him of indulging in the predatory land grab of indigent Malvani farmers and fishermen to fulfil his grandiose projects, whose initial costs and dimensions have since ballooned.

“While development is an emotive issue here, Mr. Rane’s imperiousness has led to his downfall,” said political analyst and senior journalist Shivprasad Desai.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2022 1:26:07 am |