I’m not facing a tough fight... this is not my last election: Narayan Rane

Watch | I’m not facing a tough fight... this is not my last election: Narayan Rane

It will be a one-sided contest with victory for the BJP, says Union Minister contesting from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency in Maharashtra

Updated - May 01, 2024 08:03 pm IST

Published - May 01, 2024 07:18 pm IST

Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Narayan Rane is contesting the Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency in Maharashtra’s Konkan region. He is pitted against Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and two-time MP Vinayak Raut. Mr. Rane spoke about the local and national issues that he is focusing on in this election. Edited excerpts:

Union Minister Narayan Rane during his election campaign in Khandala, Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra.

Union Minister Narayan Rane during his election campaign in Khandala, Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra. | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI

You are contesting elections after 10 years.

But I have been a Rajya Sabha MP and a Minister as well. I am not sitting idle.

Your son Nilesh Rane had contested the seat previously.

Yes, and he became an MP once [after winning the 2009 poll on a Congress ticket].

Given that Nilesh lost in the 2014 and 2019 polls, are you facing a tough fight this time?

It will be a one-sided contest with victory for the BJP. I don’t have a tough fight here.

In the Konkan region, one big issue is unemployment and the other is the farm crisis.

There is definitely poverty here, but not like that in Marathwada or Khandesh. This is a coastal area, so a lot of fishing activity goes on here. Mango, cashew, jackfruit... so many fruits are exported from here. Today’s youth are in this business. We want to bring the industry here. About 90% of the children are educated. They study here and migrate to Mumbai or Pune, which should not happen. They should stay back. This is our aim.

There have been protests against projects such as the refinery in Barsu and the nuclear power plant in Jaitapur.

It is only Vinayak Raut and his leader Uddhav Thackeray who are opposing it. People are ready to support these projects.

Does Mr. Thackeray have any sympathy among voters?

What has Uddhavji done? There are corruption charges against him for work done during the COVID pandemic. Why should he get sympathy? He does not even follow Balasaheb’s [Thackeray] ideology. Balasaheb protected Hindutva all his life. To become CM, he [Uddhav] betrayed [the BJP] and went along with Sharad Pawar and the Congress. He is a liar, abuses people, and a bad person. You people [the media] have been drawing sympathy towards him.

You said there are many medium- and small-scale industries here.

I have a Ministry. I want to bring more of them here.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) has also promised to set up major projects.

How many MPs does it have? Five. After this election how many will it have? Zero. [Narendra] Modiji’s government will get re-elected. Today, the BJP is at 303; tomorrow, it will be 400. Modi is going to complete his hat-trick. How many MPs does Sharad Pawar have? Three. It will be difficult to get even one now. The Congress has 50 MPs. Put them together and they have only 58 MPs. How will they come to power? Who will give sympathy to whom? This is a new formula that the media has brought.

What are the local and national issues you are focusing on?

International, national, all issues. Modiji has said we have to win over 400 seats to develop India. The Indian economy should stand third in the world after the U.S. and China. We are attempting to do this.

How much support are you getting?

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is supporting us 100%. Raj Thackeray will be coming here to campaign. Even Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena is fully backing us. All other allies are also with us.

Do you feel it took a lot of time to announce your candidature?

No. I was told to start working [on my campaign] and I did so 15 days before my name was announced.

You have said in some interviews that this is your last election.

No, I never said that. Some journalists said it.

Will you stand as a candidate again?

Why should I talk about the future today? We will talk about it when the time comes.

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