Navneet Rana’s candidature from Amravati giving headaches for Maharashtra BJP as cracks develop within ruling Mahayuti

Navneet Rana joined the ruling BJP at the party's State unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule's residence in Nagpur along with her supporters, on March 27.

Updated - March 29, 2024 06:26 am IST

Published - March 28, 2024 12:47 pm IST - Mumbai

Navneet Rana. File

Navneet Rana. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to field independent MP Navneet Rana from the Amravati Lok Sabha constituency has triggered a raging schism within the ruling Mahayuti, with Prahar Jan Shakti party leader Bacchu Kadu on Thursday vowing to campaign against Ms. Rana in a bid to defeat her in the upcoming election.

Similarly, Ms. Rana’s other bitter enemy – former Lok Sabha MP of Amravati Anandrao Adsul and a prominent leader in the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena – said the BJP’s decision to field Ms. Rana was akin to committing “political suicide” by the Mahayuti.

Mr. Adsul’s son, Abhijit, is likely to contest against as an independent candidate against Ms. Rana, the incumbent MP of Amravati. 

In the 2019 general election, Ms. Rana, a political neophyte had trounced Mr. Adsul, a former four-term MP, in the 2019 General Election. The defeat has since rankled in the minds of Mr. Adsul and his son, with the Shinde Sena leader today stating that Amravati has always remained a Shiv Sena stronghold and that the decision to field Ms. Rana was a unilateral one taken by the BJP, without consulting Mr. Shinde’s Sena.

“Navneet Rana does not know, but she is jumping into troubled waters. Even the local BJP leaders in Amravati are opposing her candidature,” said Mr. Adsul.

Amravati being a Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seat, it was Mr. Adsul who had challenged the validity Ms. Rana’s caste certificate following the latter’s win. The Bombay High Court on June 2021, vindicating Mr. Adsul’s accusations, had said that Ms. Rana’s caste certificate had been obtained fraudulently using fabricated documents.

The case is pending in the Supreme Court which is expected to announce its decision next week.

Terming Ms. Rana’s candidacy as a “downfall of democracy”, Bacchu Kadu, chief of the Prahar Janshakti Party (an ally of the ruling Mahayuti and the NDA), openly refused to campaign for Ms. Rana and said he would exit the Mahayuti with his party if the BJP so wished him to do.

Mr. Kadu’s PJP has two MLA in the six Assembly segments that constitute the Amravati Lok Sabha seat. Mr. Kadu is a bitter opponent of Ms. Rana and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana despite all being part of the ruling government.

Remarking that the need of the hour was to defeat Ms. Rana from Amravati, Mr. Kadu said: “Ravi Rana had once smashed BJP’s party office in Amravati and assaulted its party workers. Now, a ticket is being given to his wife. What about the BJP loyalists who toiled to see their party grow? In order to keep-up Amravati’s self-respect, it is imperative that this candidate [Navneet Rana] be defeated,” Mr. Kadu said.

Ms. Rana, the current incumbent of the Amravati Lok Sabha seat, formally joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party’s state unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s residence in Nagpur along with her supporters late Wednesday night.

The BJP, however, is on a sticky wicket in Amravati, given that it just has Ravi Rana, the MLA from Badnera, supporting them. While two Assembly seats belong to Mr. Kadu, the remaining three belong to the Congress.

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