By Tripti Narain
A strong contender for the post of Maharashtra`s Chief Minister, Narayan Tatu Rane is a known political rival of his predecessor Manohar Joshi.
Born on April 10, 1952, he matriculated in 1970. Rane hails from Varvade-Kankavali in Sindhudurg district and was elected from Malvan constituency in the same district on the Shiv Sena ticket.
He was elected to the Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1985. Between 1988 and 1991, he was a member of the Bombay Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking -BEST- and also worked as president of the undertaking for three consecutive years.
Rane was elected to the state legislative assembly in March 1990. He has been a member of the Panchayat Raj Committee, Irrigation Department Committee and Special Privileges Committee.
Rane was responsible for strengthening the organisation’s base especially in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. His contribution in getting Sena candidates elected in the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections from the region has been significant. He made his debut in the Maharashtra Assembly in 1990, was re-elected in 1995 and made a Cabinet Minister when the Shiv Sena-BJP combine formed the coalition. Owing to his proximity with Thackeray and standing in the Sena, he soon got Cabinet rank. He is a typical product of the Shiv Sena culture.
Though Rane lacks high educational background, he is known to have acquired diplomatic skill and the art of political management. Like BJP’s Pramod Mahajan, he has learnt the technique of mobilising financial support having developed good contacts with industrial houses.
He was re-elected to the state assembly from Malvan in 1995 and was inducted in Joshi`s Cabinet as Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, and Fisheries Minister in March 1995. He was later shifted to the more prestigious Revenue Department.
Manohar Joshi assumed Prime Minister’s office in March 1995, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had made it clear that the Chief Minister would act on the commands served by his metaphorical "remote control". However, Joshi’s failure to aid the Shiv Sena`s pre-election movement and intention to pursue an aggressive programme of communal mobilisation led to a change of guard in the state. Narayan Rane rose to power and was made the Chief Minister February 1, 1999.
Presently, he is the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legistative Assembly.