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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Independent Maharashtra MP Navneet Rana Considered for BJP Candidacy in 2024

Navneet Rana, Maharashtra’s sole independent MP, is expected to run as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Rana, a vociferous supporter of the BJP’s Hindutva platform in Maharashtra, is assisting the party in containing its arch-enemy, Uddhav Thackeray.

The BJP’s offer to Rana has faced with criticism from within the government coalition.

On Friday, Maharashtra BJP chairman Chandrashekhar Bawankule stated that the party was interested in fielding Rana as a candidate. “She was a member of the NDA, and we would like her to run as our candidate on our lotus symbol.” Though the final decision will be made by our parliamentary board, we would like Rana to be the BJP candidate and are working hard to persuade our ruling partners as well,” he said in Amravati.

Rana won the 2019-LS elections as an independent with NCP backing. After winning the election, the MP instantly allied with the BJP and has been promoting Hindutva philosophy ever since.

In April of last year, she grabbed the headlines by announcing her intention to perform Hanuman Chalisa outside then-chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office. She was detained, along with her MLA husband Ravi Rana, for instigating people and making offensive statements.

The MP was also in the limelight for submitting a forged caste certificate in order to be eligible to run in the scheduled caste constituency. In June of last year, the Bombay High Court ruled that the caste certificate was invalid. The SC later upheld the HC order.

However, a shift in political ideology and stance may make it impossible for her to win the election.Her constituency has over 40,000 Muslim voters who will not vote for her if she runs as a BJP candidate. Second, she is facing internal BJP resistance as well as opposition from the other two ruling parties, the Shiv Sena (Shinde group) and the NCP (Ajit Pawar faction).

Anandrao Adsul, who is now with the Shinde camp, was beaten by her (by 37,000 votes), and Sulabha Khodake, a local NCP MLA who is with the Ajit Pawar party, is also opposed to her. “They will most likely oppose Rana as an alliance partner,” a BJP leader said.

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Source: HT

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