10 April is senior Congress leader Narayan Rane’s birthday. The moot question that looms before Rane who is currently dithering between choosing his next political move is – should he please Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah by accepting birthday greetings in the form of an entry into the party ruling at the Centre? Or should he pause to assess the veiled threats and invitations that are currently emanating from the Shiv Sena?
Rane, who is currently camping at Kankavali, has sent for older son Nilesh Rane, former MP from Ratnagiri, to join him there. Younger son Nitesh Rane has already joined senior Rane at Kankavali. Is the Rane family getting ready for some serious political fireworks on the eve of his birthday?
It appears Rane is tapping local political sentiment before he makes his next move public. Between the lotus and the bow-and-arrow, the sentiment in his constituency appears to be skewed towards the bow and arrow. But Rane now needs not only to calculate popular sentiment in the region that voted him into power, he needs to evaluate his own political future as well. Choosing the lotus may mean a dip in the enthusiasm levels of his supporters in the Konkan, but choosing the bow-and-arrow will spell a swell in his popularity in the region.
In case Rane opts for the lotus, there is a chance that local leaders swearing allegiance to the BJP - like Rajan Teli, Kaka Kudalkar and Sandesh Parkar - could make a parallel move to the Sena. On the other hand, should Rane choose the Sena, minister of state for finance Deepak Kesarkar and Kudal MLA Vaibhav Naik who defeated Rane in the last assembly elections, could well join the BJP themselves.
It is not an easy choice that Rane faces today. Should he lean towards the blooming lotus, help the bow arch stronger or offer a restraining hand of patience to his supporters? Going by his track record, needless to say, Rane will have only himself to credit for the consequences of whichever decision he chooses to make.