Rane meets Pawar, seeks NCP's help in Bandra bypoll

Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane, who is likely to contest the April 11 Assembly by-election from Bandra East constituency here, called on NCP president Sharad Pawar here this morning.

PTI| Updated: Mar 22, 2015, 15:20 PM IST

Mumbai: Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane, who is likely to contest the April 11 Assembly by-election from Bandra East constituency here, called on NCP president Sharad Pawar here this morning.

Rane's presence is expected to make it a high-profile contest, with the former Chief Minister trying to challenge his erstwhile party Shiv Sena in its own backyard as the constituency houses the residence of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

Rane told PTI that he met Pawar at his residence here and sought NCP's co-operation in the by-election.

To a question on when he would file his nomination, he said, "The question arises only after my name is declared by the party."

The 62-year-old leader Congress leader has made it clear that he is ready to contest the bypoll, if the party fields him.

Recently he had said that the party requested him to contest the by-election and he conveyed that he would give a thought to the proposal.

Political observers say that Rane, who suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of the Sena in Sindhudurg's Kudal Assembly seat last year, agreed to take the plunge only after assessing the ground situation in Bandra East.

"Parties like MIM, MNS and NCP are unlikely to cause trouble to Rane, while a section of BJP is of the view that the defeat of Shiv Sena in the by-election will help reduce its pressure on the state government," an observer said.

Rane is likely to have an advantage in the contest despite Shiv Sena fielding Trupti Sawant, the wife of late Bala Sawant whose death necessitated the by-election, he said.

Even though Rane has many times been critical of his party's functioning and openly rebelled against it, the Congress has opted for Rane's aggressive leadership.