Even for someone not known to be on the best of terms with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (who presided over his arrest as recently as August), Union Minister Narayan Rane casually dropped a bomb on Friday, saying that by March – two years before the next elections – the BJP will take over the state’s government.
“The BJP will form the government in March and you will see a change,” he said in response to a question by reporters in Jaipur, according to a video tweeted by news agency ANI.
Questioned about the startling claim, Mr Rane said, “To form a government, to break a government, some things have to be kept secret.”
#WATCH | “Change will be seen in Maharashtra very soon. The change will be seen by March. To form a government, to break a govt, some things have to be kept secret,” Union Minister Narayan Rane in Jaipur (25.11) pic.twitter.com/GAlDtDr1xO
— ANI (@ANI) November 26, 2021
The BJP leader, who was arrested for his comment that he would like to slap Uddhav Thackeray for his “ignorance of the year India won Independence” and later released on bail, is the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
The arrest was the first time in 20 years a Union Minister was taken into custody and was the latest in a feud between the that began 17 years ago with his rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership and departure from the Shiv Sena.
The BJP has a history of a power struggle with the current government in Maharashtra. Although it fought the 2019 elections in partnership with the Sena, the two parted ways over disagreements on who will become Chief Minister after the alliance won the majority.
The Sena, with 56 MLAs, turned to ideological rivals NCP and Congress for support but just as it seemed that the alliance was finally on track, the BJP pulled off a coup – swearing in Devendra Fadnavis at a surprise ceremony at 8 in the morning at the governor’s residence.
However, the BJP’s hold on the hot seat was short-lived as the Supreme Court ordered an immediate floor test with several conditions. Headed for a flop, Mr Fadnavis resigned and Mr Thackeray became Chief Minister.