- Narayan Rane was senior Congress leader in Maharashtra for 12 years
- Quits party, says it broke promises to him
- Talk of joining BJP after he met with Chief Minister Fadnavis, Amit Shah
Along with him, his son Nilesh has also exited the Congress and Nitin is expected to quit.
"I have sent my resignation letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi. I was promised the post of Chief Minister four times, but it was not honoured by the party," Mr Rane said today at a press conference in the Sindhudurg district, which is in the Konkan region where the politician was once very powerful. Though his hold in the area has declined, he could be key for the BJP in expanding its draw in a zone that is seen as sweet on the Shiv Sena, its cantankerous ally.
In recent months, Mr Rane has met on different occasions in Ahmedabad and Mumbai with BJP President Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, triggering reports that he was ready to switch parties.
Though some BJP leaders fuelled the speculation, stating that they would welcome Mr Rane with open arms, he said the talk was unsubstantiated.
Mr Rane, 65, joined the Congress after the Shiv Sena expelled him in 2005 following differences with party chief Uddhav Thackeray. He served as Maharashtra Chief Minister for a year in 1999 as part of a coalition government of the Sena and the BJP.
He said that the Congress, which governed Maharashtra uninterrupted from 1999 to 2014, defaulted four times on its promise to make him Chief Minister.
He has also attacked the party in recent days for dissolving its main committee in Sindhudurg, considered his stronghold. The team included many Rane loyalists.