A day after Konkan strongman Narayan Rane quit the Maharashtra cabinet, efforts to persuade him to take back his resignation failed today and the matter would now be referred to Congress president Sonia Gandhi for resolving it.
Rane, who had a closed-door meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre to iron out the issues that led to his stepping down, remained unpacified and insisted on acceptance of his resignation.
"It was decided that the Chief Minister will seek an appointment with Sonia Gandhi in the next couple of days. I, Chavan and Manikrao Thakre will then meet her to discuss issues I have raised," Rane told reporters.
"Chavan tried to persuade me to withdraw my resignation and work in the government and the party, saying that my services were needed. But I responded by telling him that the issues raised by me in my resignation letter need to be addressed first," he said.
Asked if he was offered the post of state Congress president as a solution to the impasse, he said," No such offer was made. The solution lies in acceptance of my resignation." Later, Chavan told reporters he had asked Rane to withdraw his resignation and assured him the issues raised in his letter would be communicated to the party's central leadership. He hoped the matter would be sorted out through negotiations.
"We discussed at length organisational and administrative issues as well as election campaign strategy. I will brief the high command and AICC general secretary Mohan Prakash about my discussions with Rane. I will try to resolve state-level issues raised by him. The isssue is likely to be settled through discussions," he said.
Though contents of his resignation letter are not known, Rane has made public his discontent with the Congress leadership for not making him the chief minister, a promise he claims was made to him when he joined the party after quitting Shiv Sena in 2005.
"Congress has not honoured the commitment it made. I was told I will be made CM in six months. But in nine years the promise has not been kept," Rane had told reporters after tendering his resignation on Tuesday.
Rane, a former Shiv sena chief minister, had also slammed Chavan for tardy decision-making and lack of control over administration. He said with Chavan at the helm, the party's prospects in the assembly elections, due in October, were bleak.
Rane's posturing in the run up to the assembly polls has caused considerable discomfiture for the Congress, still smarting from the worst-ever defeat in the Lok Sabha elections when its tally in the state plunged to just two seats. With ally NCP, the party had managed to clinch only six of Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha seats.